“You look like a thing and I love you.”

Pick-up line by a neural net trained on pickup lines from the Internet

 

 

During these extraordinarily difficult days, we could use a book with a sense of humor and concomitantly an informative read. These two elements usually do not belong together in the same sentence when one reads about artificial intelligence.

Written by the physicist Janelle Shane, who writes a blog called AI Weirdness, the book You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is difficult to put down once you start it (I read this book almost the entire way through the first time as it was just that funny).

Some of the questions are both humorous as well as enlightening: Let the AI drive? Is an AI brain like a human brain? How does it actually learn? What is equally as informative is the list of extremely relevant topics in artificial intelligence and data science: class imbalance, evolutionary algorithms, bias amplification, adversarial attacks, overfitting, messy data, and many more. She renders these esoteric (and sometimes even dry) topics fun to read and easy to understand somehow.

Even the simplistic but relatable illustrations throughout the book seem to join in on the fun to enlighten the reader. While it is easy to assume such a lighthearted approach that this book takes does not lead to substantive epiphanies about artificial intelligence, we are constantly surprised at how Shane is capable of elucidating an artificial intelligence concept with a logical discussion accompanied by a few fun drawings. She possesses a true gift of being a scientist who can translate the enigmas of artificial intelligence to any reader.

For the beginner, as well as the aficionado of artificial intelligence, this book is equally funny with a strong witty element throughout. We are blessed with this supremely robust but fun primer on artificial intelligence that most if not all readers will find endearing and educational.

While Janelle Shane lightly mocks the sometimes flawed technology of artificial intelligence in the tone of poking fun at one’s pet, you know deep in your heart that she is an evangelist with a high level of integrity and passion for artificial intelligence to be your partner.