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Errata and comments - stray minus sign, Bayes, H&B

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  • Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
    I d like to begin my comments on Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, 2nd Edition by saying that this is a truly, truly excellent book, which I
    Message 1 of 5 , May 26 1:26 PM
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      I'd like to begin my comments on "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern
      Approach, 2nd Edition" by saying that this is a truly, truly excellent
      book, which I recommend to all technically minded friends when they
      say they want to learn more about AI, and whenever someone takes a
      first college course on AI I tell them to make sure it is taught with
      this book. There are just a few minor comments and errata...

      I've divided this email into two parts, since the comments on page 963
      are extensive enough to deserve a separate email.

      *

      The only actual math error listed in my notes is on page 719. There's
      a stray minus sign in the first equation of (20.4), for the
      maximum-likelihood estimate of a gaussian's mean. Since the
      derivative is subsequently set equal to zero, the error does not
      propagate, but the qualitative physics is wrong - if all x_j are
      higher than u, increasing u should increase the log-likelihood, not
      decrease it.

      *

      On page 9, it says that "Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) proposed a rule for
      updating probabilities in the light of new evidence. Bayes' rule and
      the resulting field called Bayesian analysis form the basis of most
      modern approaches to uncertain reasoning in AI systems." IANAHOM (I
      Am Not A Historian Of Mathematics) but I've read in more than one
      source that Bayes did not invent Bayes's Theorem. For example, E. T.
      Jaynes's _Probability Theory: The Logic of Science_, section 4.6.1 on
      page 112:

      "...the kind of calculations we are doing are called 'Bayesian'. We
      shall follow this long-established custom, although it is misleading
      in several respects. The general result (4.3) is always called
      'Bayes' theorem', although Bayes never wrote it; and it is really
      nothing but the product rule of probability theory which had been
      recognized by others, such as James Bernoulli and A. de Moivre (1718),
      long before the work of Bayes. Furthermore, it was not Bayes but
      Laplace (1774) who first saw the result in generality and showed how
      to use it in real problems of inference. Finally, the calculations we
      are doing - the direct application of probability theory as logic -
      are more general than mere application of Bayes' theorem; that is only
      one of several items in our toolbox."

      Bayes actually derived what is now known as Laplace's Rule of
      Succession. Laplace, impressed by this use of inverse inference,
      decided to call such calculations "Bayesian". Thus, Bayesian
      probability theory should really be known as "Laplacian probability
      theory", Laplace's Rule of Succession should really be known as
      "Bayes's Rule of Succession", and I don't think anyone knows who
      invented Bayes's Theorem.

      *

      My highest-priority want item for a third edition would be at least
      one dedicated section, with examples, for the field of heuristics and
      biases - the box on p. 592 isn't nearly enough. This is a hugely
      important and growing field, critical to anyone interested in taking
      apart human cognition to see how it works, and helpful to any human
      being who wants an owner's manual for their own reasoning. It would
      be a significant service to students to show them enough of the basics
      to tantalize them into learning further. I would recommend
      introducing at least availability, anchoring and adjustment, and the
      conjunction fallacy.

      (See e.g. http://singinst.org/Biases.pdf).

      --
      Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
      Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
    • Ivan F. Villanueva B.
      ... But the content of the book is not free. It would be great if the authors will release at least some parts (e.g. the Summaries and the Bibliographical and
      Message 2 of 5 , May 27 4:25 AM
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        On Sat, May 26, 2007 01:26:22PM -0700, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
        > I'd like to begin my comments on "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern
        > Approach, 2nd Edition" by saying that this is a truly, truly excellent
        > book, which I recommend to all technically minded friends

        But the content of the book is not free. It would be great if the
        authors will release at least some parts (e.g. the Summaries and the
        Bibliographical and Historical Notes) in a Creative Commons License.
        For instance I would like to incorporate some parts in my open source project,
        and others maybe interested in doing the same on Wikipedia articles.

        --
        Iván F. Villanueva B.
        A.I. project http://www.artificialidea.com
      • Muaz Niazi
        Hey Ivan and Eliezer, BTW, I think you folks may also want to voice these opinion on the other Yahoo Group. -- Take care,
        Message 3 of 5 , May 27 8:12 AM
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          Hey Ivan and Eliezer,

          BTW, I think you folks may also want to voice these opinion on the
          other Yahoo Group.

          <aima-instructors@yahoogroups.com>

          --
          Take care,

          Muaz Niazi
          Asst. Prof.,
          Foundation University,
          FUIMCS, 1 New Lalazar,
          Rawalpindi,
          Pakistan


          "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
          completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
          fools. "

          Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
          English humorist & science fiction novelist (1952 - 2001)


          On 5/27/07, Ivan F. Villanueva B. <ivan@... > wrote:
          >
          > On Sat, May 26, 2007 01:26:22PM -0700, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
          > > I'd like to begin my comments on "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern
          > > Approach, 2nd Edition" by saying that this is a truly, truly excellent
          > > book, which I recommend to all technically minded friends
          >
          > But the content of the book is not free. It would be great if the
          > authors will release at least some parts (e.g. the Summaries and the
          > Bibliographical and Historical Notes) in a Creative Commons License.
          > For instance I would like to incorporate some parts in my open source project,
          > and others maybe interested in doing the same on Wikipedia articles.
          >
          > --
          > Iván F. Villanueva B.
          > A.I. project http://www.artificialidea.com
          >
        • Peter Norvig
          That s an interesting idea. Of course the publishers, not the authors, are thee ones with the right to do that. But the authors can encourage the publishers
          Message 4 of 5 , May 27 10:33 AM
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            That's an interesting idea.  Of course the publishers, not the authors, are thee ones with the right to do that.  But the authors can encourage the publishers to do so.

            -Peter

            On 5/27/07, Ivan F. Villanueva B. <ivan@...> wrote:
            On Sat, May 26, 2007 01:26:22PM -0700, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
            > I'd like to begin my comments on "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern
            > Approach, 2nd Edition" by saying that this is a truly, truly excellent
            > book, which I recommend to all technically minded friends

            But the content of the book is not free. It would be great if the
            authors will release at least some parts (e.g. the Summaries and the
            Bibliographical and Historical Notes) in a Creative Commons License.
            For instance I would like to incorporate some parts in my open source project,
            and others maybe interested in doing the same on Wikipedia articles.

            --
            Iván F. Villanueva B.
            A.I. project http://www.artificialidea.com

          • Ivan F. Villanueva B.
            ... That s probably because the authors, not the publishers, didn t care enough about the rights of the published work and the specific parts of the contract.
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 28, 2007
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              > On 5/27/07, Ivan F. Villanueva B. <ivan@...> wrote:
              >> But the content of the book is not free. It would be great if the
              >> authors will release at least some parts (e.g. the Summaries and the
              >> Bibliographical and Historical Notes) in a Creative Commons License.

              On Sun, May 27, 2007 10:33:10AM -0700, Peter Norvig wrote:
              > That's an interesting idea. Of course the publishers, not the authors, are
              > thee ones with the right to do that. But the authors can encourage the
              > publishers to do so.

              That's probably because the authors, not the publishers, didn't care enough
              about the rights of the published work and the specific parts of the contract.

              I would suggest a license like that for as many parts of the book as possible:

              http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

              That would be really great. We are in the 21. century, with amazing new things
              like Wikipedia. Help the new generation!

              --
              Iván F. Villanueva B.
              A.I. Open Source project: -- www.artificialidea.com
              FFII.org Deutschland -- de.ffii.org
              FFII.org España -- es.ffii.org
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