Magazine February 22, 2021, Issue

A Guide to Artificial Intelligence

World chess champion Garry Kasparov ponders his next move against the IBM computer Deep Blue, May 1997. (Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images)
A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence: What It Is, Where We Are, and Where We Are Going, by Michael Wooldridge (Flatiron Books, 272 pp., $27.99)

I   was attracted by the word “brief” — a “brief history.” I was also attracted by the subject, artificial intelligence. It is an important subject, I knew, and one about which I was largely ignorant. I’m not really sure I cared about AI, frankly — but I knew I should.

A “myth-busting guide,” says the front flap of the book cover. To be frank again: I was unsure of the myths needing busting.

So, a book intended for a general audience will be reviewed by a member of that audience.

The author of our brief history is Michael Wooldridge, professor of

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This article appears as “AI, FYI” in the February 22, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


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A San Francisco school board has voted to rename 44 schools the names of which are associated with ‘dishonorable legacies.’


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