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Post-Truth (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
How we arrived in a post-truth era, when “alternative facts” replace actual facts, and feelings have more weight than evidence.Are we living in a post-truth world, where “alternative facts” replace actual facts and feelings have more weight than evidence? How did we get here? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Lee McIntyre traces the development of the post-truth phenomenon from science denial through the rise of “fake news,” from our psychological blind spots to the public's retreat into “information silos.”What, exactly, is post-truth? Is it wishful thinking, political spin, mass delusion, bold-faced lying? McIntyre analyzes recent examples—claims about inauguration crowd size, crime statistics, and the popular vote—and finds that post-truth is an assertion of ideological supremacy by which its practitioners try to compel someone to believe something regardless of the evidence. Yet post-truth didn't begin with the 2016 election; the denial of scientific facts about smoking, evolution, vaccines, and climate change offers a road map for more widespread fact denial. Add to this the wired-in cognitive biases that make us feel that our conclusions are based on good reasoning even when they are not, the decline of traditional media and the rise of social media, and the emergence of fake news as a political tool, and we have the ideal conditions for post-truth. McIntyre also argues provocatively that the right wing borrowed from postmodernism—specifically, the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth—in its attacks on science and facts.McIntyre argues that we can fight post-truth, and that the first step in fighting post-truth is to understand it.
Author: Lee McIntyre
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 02/09/2018
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 240 pages

Data Science (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
A concise introduction to the emerging field of data science, explaining its evolution, relation to machine learning, current uses, data infrastructure issues, and ethical challenges.The goal of data science is to improve decision making through the analysis of data. Today data science determines the ads we see online, the books and movies that are recommended to us online, which emails are filtered into our spam folders, and even how much we pay for health insurance. This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers a concise introduction to the emerging field of data science, explaining its evolution, current uses, data infrastructure issues, and ethical challenges.It has never been easier for organizations to gather, store, and process data. Use of data science is driven by the rise of big data and social media, the development of high-performance computing, and the emergence of such powerful methods for data analysis and modeling as deep learning. Data science encompasses a set of principles, problem definitions, algorithms, and processes for extracting non-obvious and useful patterns from large datasets. It is closely related to the fields of data mining and machine learning, but broader in scope. This book offers a brief history of the field, introduces fundamental data concepts, and describes the stages in a data science project. It considers data infrastructure and the challenges posed by integrating data from multiple sources, introduces the basics of machine learning, and discusses how to link machine learning expertise with real-world problems. The book also reviews ethical and legal issues, developments in data regulation, and computational approaches to preserving privacy. Finally, it considers the future impact of data science and offers principles for success in data science projects.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 04/06/2018
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 282 pages

Neuroplasticity (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
The real story of how our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes—with or without “brain training.”Fifty years ago, neuroscientists thought that a mature brain was fixed like a fly in amber, unable to change. Today, we know that our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes. This concept of neuroplasticity has captured the imagination of a public eager for self-improvement—and has inspired countless Internet entrepreneurs who peddle dubious “brain training” games and apps. In this book, Moheb Costandi offers a concise and engaging overview of neuroplasticity for the general reader, describing how our brains change continuously in response to our actions and experiences.Costandi discusses key experimental findings, and describes how our thinking about the brain has evolved over time. He explains how the brain changes during development, and the “synaptic pruning” that takes place before brain maturity. He shows that adult brains can grow new cells (citing, among many other studies, research showing that sexually mature male canaries learn a new song every year). He describes the kind of brain training that can bring about improvement in brain function. It's not gadgets and games that promise to “rewire your brain” but such sustained cognitive tasks as learning a musical instrument or a new language. (Costandi also notes that London cabbies increase their gray matter after rigorous training in their city's complicated streets.) He tells how brains compensate after stroke or injury; describes addiction and pain as maladaptive forms of neuroplasticity; and considers brain changes that accompany childhood, adolescence, parenthood, and aging. Each of our brains is custom-built. Neuroplasticity is at the heart of what makes us human.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 08/16/2016
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 194 pages

Introduction to Algorithms (The MIT Press)
A new edition of the essential text and professional reference, with substantial new material on such topics as vEB trees, multithreaded algorithms, dynamic programming, and edge-based flow.Some books on algorithms are rigorous but incomplete; others cover masses of material but lack rigor. Introduction to Algorithms uniquely combines rigor and comprehensiveness. The book covers a broad range of algorithms in depth, yet makes their design and analysis accessible to all levels of readers. Each chapter is relatively self-contained and can be used as a unit of study. The algorithms are described in English and in a pseudocode designed to be readable by anyone who has done a little programming. The explanations have been kept elementary without sacrificing depth of coverage or mathematical rigor.The first edition became a widely used text in universities worldwide as well as the standard reference for professionals. The second edition featured new chapters on the role of algorithms, probabilistic analysis and randomized algorithms, and linear programming. The third edition has been revised and updated throughout. It includes two completely new chapters, on van Emde Boas trees and multithreaded algorithms, substantial additions to the chapter on recurrence (now called “Divide-and-Conquer”), and an appendix on matrices. It features improved treatment of dynamic programming and greedy algorithms and a new notion of edge-based flow in the material on flow networks. Many new exercises and problems have been added for this edition. The international paperback edition is no longer available; the hardcover is available worldwide.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 07/31/2009
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 1312 pages

The Book (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
The book as object, as content, as idea, as interface.What is the book in a digital age? Is it a physical object containing pages encased in covers? Is it a portable device that gives us access to entire libraries? The codex, the book as bound paper sheets, emerged around 150 CE. It was preceded by clay tablets and papyrus scrolls. Are those books? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Amaranth Borsuk considers the history of the book, the future of the book, and the idea of the book. Tracing the interrelationship of form and content in the book's development, she bridges book history, book arts, and electronic literature to expand our definition of an object we thought we knew intimately.Contrary to the many reports of its death (which has been blamed at various times on newspapers, television, and e-readers), the book is alive. Despite nostalgic paeans to the codex and its printed pages, Borsuk reminds us, the term “book” commonly refers to both medium and content. And the medium has proved to be malleable. Rather than pinning our notion of the book to a single form, Borsuk argues, we should remember its long history of transformation. Considering the book as object, content, idea, and interface, she shows that the physical form of the book has always been the site of experimentation and play. Rather than creating a false dichotomy between print and digital media, we should appreciate their continuities.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 04/27/2018
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 344 pages

Extremism (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
What extremism is, how extremist ideologies are constructed, and why extremism can escalate into violence.A rising tide of extremist movements threaten to destabilize civil societies around the globe. It has never been more important to understand extremism, yet the dictionary definition—a logical starting point in a search for understanding—tells us only that extremism is “the quality or state of being extreme.” In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, J. M. Berger offers a nuanced introduction to extremist movements, explaining what extremism is, how extremist ideologies are constructed, and why extremism can escalate into violence. Berger shows that although the ideological content of extremist movements varies widely, there are common structural elements. Berger, an expert on extremist movements and terrorism, explains that extremism arises from a perception of “us versus them,” intensified by the conviction that the success of “us” is inseparable from hostile acts against “them.” Extremism differs from ordinary unpleasantness—run-of-the-mill hatred and racism—by its sweeping rationalization of an insistence on violence. Berger illustrates his argument with case studies and examples from around the world and throughout history, from the destruction of Carthage by the Romans—often called “the first genocide”—to the apocalyptic jihadism of Al Qaeda, America's new “alt-right,” and the anti-Semitic conspiracy tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He describes the evolution of identity movements, individual and group radicalization, and more. If we understand the causes of extremism, and the common elements of extremist movements, Berger says, we will be more effective in countering it.
Author: J. M. Berger
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 08/03/2018
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 216 pages

Machine Learning: The New AI (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
A concise overview of machine learning—computer programs that learn from data—which underlies applications that include recommendation systems, face recognition, and driverless cars.Today, machine learning underlies a range of applications we use every day, from product recommendations to voice recognition—as well as some we don't yet use everyday, including driverless cars. It is the basis of the new approach in computing where we do not write programs but collect data; the idea is to learn the algorithms for the tasks automatically from data. As computing devices grow more ubiquitous, a larger part of our lives and work is recorded digitally, and as “Big Data” has gotten bigger, the theory of machine learning—the foundation of efforts to process that data into knowledge—has also advanced. In this book, machine learning expert Ethem Alpaydin offers a concise overview of the subject for the general reader, describing its evolution, explaining important learning algorithms, and presenting example applications.Alpaydin offers an account of how digital technology advanced from number-crunching mainframes to mobile devices, putting today's machine learning boom in context. He describes the basics of machine learning and some applications; the use of machine learning algorithms for pattern recognition; artificial neural networks inspired by the human brain; algorithms that learn associations between instances, with such applications as customer segmentation and learning recommendations; and reinforcement learning, when an autonomous agent learns act so as to maximize reward and minimize penalty. Alpaydin then considers some future directions for machine learning and the new field of “data science,” and discusses the ethical and legal implications for data privacy and security.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 09/30/2016
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 232 pages

IT Strategy for Non-IT Managers: Becoming an Engaged Contributor to Corporate IT Decisions (The MIT Press)
How non-IT managers can turn IT from an expensive liability into a cost-effective competitive tool.Firms spend more on information technology (IT) than on all other capital assets combined. And yet despite this significant cash outlay, businesses often end up with IT that is uneconomical and strategically feeble. What is missing in many organizations' IT strategy is the business acumen of managers from non-IT departments. This book presents tools for non-IT managers to turn IT from an expensive liability into a cost-effective competitive tool. It equips readers with the concepts and analytical skills necessary to understand IT needs and opportunities from both sides of the business–IT divide.Each chapter opens with a jargon decoder–nontechnical explanations of the key ideas in the chapter—and ends with a checklist summarizing non-IT factors to consider in IT decisions. Chapters cover such topics as infusing competitive firepower into IT strategy; amalgamating software and data for a hard-to-duplicate competitive advantage; making choices that meet today's business needs without handicapping future strategy; establishing who decides what about IT strategies; sourcing IT and its challenges; protecting IT assets against disaster in ways that IT professionals cannot; and recognizing the business potential of emerging technologies. Examples are drawn from large corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits around the world.The book is suitable for use in the MBA core IT course, and is aimed especially at students in professional or executive MBA programs. It will also be a valuable reference for managers.
Author: Amrit Tiwana
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 09/08/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 277 pages

Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions (The MIT Press)
A modern classic about how people really make decisions: drawing on prior experience, using a combination of intuition and analysis.Since its publication twenty years ago, Sources of Power has been enormously influential. The book has sold more than 50,000 copies, has been translated into six languages, has been cited in professional journals that range from Journal of Marketing Research to Journal of Nursing, and is mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell in Blink. Author Gary Klein has collaborated with Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and served on a team that redesigned the White House Situation Room to support more effective decision making. The model of decision making Klein proposes in the book has been adopted in fields including law enforcement training and petrochemical plant operation. What is the groundbreaking new way to approach decision making described in this modern classic? We have all seen images of firefighters rescuing people from burning buildings and paramedics treating bombing victims. How do these individuals make the split-second decisions that save lives? Most studies of decision making, based on artificial tasks assigned in laboratory settings, view people as biased and unskilled. Klein proposes a naturalistic approach to decision making, which views people as gaining experience that enables them to use a combination of intuition and analysis to make decisions. To illustrate this approach, Klein tells stories of people—from pilots to chess masters—acting under such real-life constraints as time pressure, high stakes, personal responsibility, and shifting conditions.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 09/08/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 360 pages

Metadata (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
Everything we need to know about metadata, the usually invisible infrastructure for information with which we interact every day. When “metadata” became breaking news, appearing in stories about surveillance by the National Security Agency, many members of the public encountered this once-obscure term from information science for the first time. Should people be reassured that the NSA was “only” collecting metadata about phone calls—information about the caller, the recipient, the time, the duration, the location—and not recordings of the conversations themselves? Or does phone call metadata reveal more than it seems? In this book, Jeffrey Pomerantz offers an accessible and concise introduction to metadata.In the era of ubiquitous computing, metadata has become infrastructural, like the electrical grid or the highway system. We interact with it or generate it every day. It is not, Pomerantz tell us, just “data about data.” It is a means by which the complexity of an object is represented in a simpler form. For example, the title, the author, and the cover art are metadata about a book. When metadata does its job well, it fades into the background; everyone (except perhaps the NSA) takes it for granted.Pomerantz explains what metadata is, and why it exists. He distinguishes among different types of metadata—descriptive, administrative, structural, preservation, and use—and examines different users and uses of each type. He discusses the technologies that make modern metadata possible, and he speculates about metadata's future. By the end of the book, readers will see metadata everywhere. Because, Pomerantz warns us, it's metadata's world, and we are just living in it.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 11/13/2015
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 256 pages
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