To help myself remember how I felt about various things that I finished
Monday, June 1, 2015
Artificial Life Possibilities: A Star Trek Perspective
This book has been lurking around my house for almost ten years now, I thought I better read it so I could get it out of here. By all rights, it should be terrible... an abomination. A Star Trek book about artificial life posing as a textbook? Come on. But... it's really not too bad. I thought it was going be a book about coding up a-life algorithms, but it isn't. It's more of a pop science book, using the many instances of AI in Star Trek as jumping off points to give high level explanations about things as diverse as cellular automata, vision systems, Markov chains, formal logic, fuzzy logic, basically all the stuff that a computer science undergrad trying to study AI is going to bump into. This book is ideal for a smart high school student who is into Star Trek and curious about AI. It's light, fun, and clever, has some good references, and it really knows its Star Trek. It would have done much better, I suspect, if it wasn't packaged like a textbook. Kudos to you, Penny Baillie-de Byl!
Jesse Schell has taught Game Design and led research projects at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (www.etc.cmu.edu) since 2002. Jesse is also the CEO of Pittsburgh’s largest videogame studio, Schell Games (www.schellgames.com), the author of The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses (www.artofgamedesign.com), and the former chairman of the International Game Developers Association (www.igda.org). In 2004, he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation.
Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, he was the Creative Director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio, where he spent seven years as designer, programmer and manager on several projects for Disney theme parks and Disney Online. Before that, he was a software engineer at IBM and Bell Communications Research, and a writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer's Mime Circus and the Juggler's Guild. You can email him at jesse(at)schellgames.com.