I picked up a copy of Emergence hoping to find an illuminating and thought provoking overview of the topic. The initial chapters eulogize a co-worker research on checkers players in a mollycoddling and frustrating unrigourous fashion. It skims over minimax strategies, and at one point draws analogies between the scoring function used and integrating artificial neurons, a relationship which is so weak it is banal.(Any decision based on considering several factors would fit the bill) Later the author claims that "Chess models the real world", saying that it has its origins in powers manouvering on early battlefields? Does the author believe that checkers is also a model of early warfare, or that GO! is an attempt to recreate the frustrations of a morning commute? The overall result is a weak book. It handles only certain aspects of Emergence, and completely omits other important phenomena. I found the brief coverage offered by "Creation" far more insightful and worthwhile. I am not an expert in the field, and if experts out there wish to correct me I would be interested in their opinions. I am currently of the strong opinion that this book is extremely weak, and will sell purely on the merit of the author's (well-deserved) reputation. Don't buy it unless you are also a member of the Art Samuel fan club.
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