Encyclopedia of Artificial Intelligence: The Past, Present, and Future of AI

ABC-CLIO. Apr. 2021. 378p. ed. by Philip L. Frana & Michael J. Klein. ISBN 9781440853265. $97. REF
Frana (interdisciplinary liberal studies, James Madison Univ., VA), Klein (director, Cohen Ctr. for the Humanities, James Madison Univ.), and 66 expert international contributors offer some 140 entries on topics from Blade Runner to Project SyNAPSE, covering both “connectionist” and “symbolic” AI. Some entries profile well-known figures (Nick Bostrom, Daniel Dennett, Sherry Turkle), as well as those who may be more obscure. Among the topics extensively discussed are algorithmic bias (including gender and racial bias), the trolley problem, the climate crisis, AI weapons and ethics, technological singularity, and other sociocultural, philosophical, and technological issues. Some entries address laypersons, but often the language is specialized, and the demanding content will be most accessible to advanced readers. There are some omissions; for instance, there’s no article on regulation of AI. The “Biometric Privacy and Security” entry never mentions surveillance of Uighurs or the GDPR and contains the encyclopedia’s only paragraph on deepfakes. There are entries on AI in film editing and music composition, but there’s just one paragraph on AI writing, and it doesn’t note potential problems (such as computer-generated writing that is indistinguishable from human-written pieces). The encyclopedia’s chronology (1942–2020), bibliography, and abundant article references are useful.
VERDICT Beginners will find some important information here, along with a great deal for specialists, but there isn’t much on regulation and policy issues.
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