[Book Review] The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our WorldThe Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While coached as a guidebook to help find “The Master Algorithm,” the one AI algorithm “that will rule them all” (his words, not mine), this book is much, much more. At times written whimsically, and at times treating very advance material in a way that non-sophisticated readers can understand, the book is part history lesson, part cultural commentary, and part description of the scientific process. I work exactly in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and I am definitely a member of the target audience. Maybe I’m just an ML fanboy, but I found the treatment of everything, including that of the author’s own work, to be at just the right level to keep the non-specialist interested, while informing the specialist about those other areas, where he is not a specialist.

The book finishes with musings about what it means to be a source of data for the corporations (and governments) that would use that data for good and/or evil. This alone makes the book worth reading. Such candor from those in the field of machine learning is really refreshing.

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