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Data Science (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

https://www.amazon.com/Data-Science-Press-Essential-Knowledg...
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

Post-Truth (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

https://www.amazon.com/Post-Truth-MIT-Press-Essential-Knowle...
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, 236 pages

Understanding Beliefs (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Beliefs-Press-Essential...
What beliefs are, what they do for us, how we come to hold them, and how to evaluate them. Our beliefs constitute a large part of our knowledge of the world. We have beliefs about objects, about culture, about the past, and about the future. We have beliefs about other people, and we believe that they have beliefs as well. We use beliefs to predict, to explain, to create, to console, to entertain. Some of our beliefs we call theories, and we are extraordinarily creative at constructing them. Theories of quantum mechanics, evolution, and relativity are examples. But so are theories about astrology, alien abduction, guardian angels, and reincarnation. All are products (with varying degrees of credibility) of fertile minds trying to find explanations for observed phenomena. In this book, Nils Nilsson examines beliefs: what they do for us, how we come to hold them, and how to evaluate them. We should evaluate our beliefs carefully, Nilsson points out, because they influence so many of our actions and decisions.Some of our beliefs are more strongly held than others, but all should be considered tentative and changeable. Nilsson shows that beliefs can be quantified by probability, and he describes networks of beliefs in which the probabilities of some beliefs affect the probabilities of others. He argues that we can evaluate our beliefs by adapting some of the practices of the scientific method and by consulting expert opinion. And he warns us about “belief traps”—holding onto beliefs that wouldn't survive critical evaluation. The best way to escape belief traps, he writes, is to expose our beliefs to the reasoned criticism of others.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 08/01/2014
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 168 pages

Neuroplasticity (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

https://www.amazon.com/Neuroplasticity-MIT-Press-Essential-K...
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

Extremism (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

https://www.amazon.com/Extremism-MIT-Press-Essential-Knowled...
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

Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play (The MIT Press)

https://www.amazon.com/Lifelong-Kindergarten-Cultivating-Cre...
How lessons from kindergarten can help everyone develop the creative thinking skills needed to thrive in today's society.In kindergartens these days, children spend more time with math worksheets and phonics flashcards than building blocks and finger paint. Kindergarten is becoming more like the rest of school. In Lifelong Kindergarten, learning expert Mitchel Resnick argues for exactly the opposite: the rest of school (even the rest of life) should be more like kindergarten. To thrive in today's fast-changing world, people of all ages must learn to think and act creatively—and the best way to do that is by focusing more on imagining, creating, playing, sharing, and reflecting, just as children do in traditional kindergartens.Drawing on experiences from more than thirty years at MIT's Media Lab, Resnick discusses new technologies and strategies for engaging young people in creative learning experiences. He tells stories of how children are programming their own games, stories, and inventions (for example, a diary security system, created by a twelve-year-old girl), and collaborating through remixing, crowdsourcing, and large-scale group projects (such as a Halloween-themed game called Night at Dreary Castle, produced by more than twenty kids scattered around the world). By providing young people with opportunities to work on projects, based on their passions, in collaboration with peers, in a playful spirit, we can help them prepare for a world where creative thinking is more important than ever before.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 08/18/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 204 pages

The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press)

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Learning-Revolution-MIT-Press-eb...
How deep learning—from Google Translate to driverless cars to personal cognitive assistants—is changing our lives and transforming every sector of the economy.The deep learning revolution has brought us driverless cars, the greatly improved Google Translate, fluent conversations with Siri and Alexa, and enormous profits from automated trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Deep learning networks can play poker better than professional poker players and defeat a world champion at Go. In this book, Terry Sejnowski explains how deep learning went from being an arcane academic field to a disruptive technology in the information economy.Sejnowski played an important role in the founding of deep learning, as one of a small group of researchers in the 1980s who challenged the prevailing logic-and-symbol based version of AI. The new version of AI Sejnowski and others developed, which became deep learning, is fueled instead by data. Deep networks learn from data in the same way that babies experience the world, starting with fresh eyes and gradually acquiring the skills needed to navigate novel environments. Learning algorithms extract information from raw data; information can be used to create knowledge; knowledge underlies understanding; understanding leads to wisdom. Someday a driverless car will know the road better than you do and drive with more skill; a deep learning network will diagnose your illness; a personal cognitive assistant will augment your puny human brain. It took nature many millions of years to evolve human intelligence; AI is on a trajectory measured in decades. Sejnowski prepares us for a deep learning future.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 09/28/2018
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 352 pages

Machine Learning: The New AI (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

https://www.amazon.com/Machine-Learning-Press-Essential-Know...
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

GPS (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

https://www.amazon.com/GPS-MIT-Press-Essential-Knowledge-ebo...
A concise history of GPS, from its military origins to its commercial applications and ubiquity in everyday life.GPS is ubiquitous in everyday life. GPS mapping is standard equipment in many new cars and geolocation services are embedded in smart phones. GPS makes Uber and Lyft possible; driverless cars won't be able to drive without it. In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Paul Ceruzzi offers a concise history of GPS, explaining how a once-obscure space technology became an invisible piece of our infrastructure, as essential to modern life as electric power or clean water. GPS relays precise time and positioning information from orbiting satellites to receivers on the ground, at sea, and in the air. It operates worldwide, and its basic signals are free, although private companies can commodify the data provided. Ceruzzi recounts the origins of GPS and its predecessor technologies, including early aircraft navigation systems and satellites. He describes the invention of GPS as a space technology in the post-Apollo, pre-Space Shuttle years and its first military and commercial uses. Ceruzzi explains how the convergence of three major technological developments—the microprocessor, the Internet, and cellular telephony—enabled the development and application of GPS technology. Recognizing the importance of satellite positioning systems in a shifting geopolitical landscape—and perhaps doubting U.S. assurances of perpetual GPS availability—other countries are now building or have already developed their own systems, and Ceruzzi reports on these efforts in the European Union, Russia, India, China, and Japan.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 10/12/2018
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 232 pages

Metadata (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

https://www.amazon.com/Metadata-MIT-Press-Essential-Knowledg...
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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