Artificial Intelligence for Humans, Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms – Book Review

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 11.13.12 AMIn recent years Artificial Intelligence (AI) has rapidly gone from an obscure academic research field, to an ever more useful and ubiquitous applied discipline. We increasingly rely on AI for more and more of our everyday tasks, and whole lines of work are being thoroughly transformed by its advances.

AI’s increasing ubiquity is not making it any easier to understand. AI concepts and techniques are still domain of advanced undergraduate or graduate school level courses. There are a few popular AI books out there, but most of them don’t get “under the hood” of how AI actually works. “Artificial Intelligence for Humans, Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms” aims to bridge that gap.

The book is very readable and relatively easy to follow. You are still expected to understand and follow basic computer algorithm and preferably be familiar with at least one programming language. This first volume in the series covers some basic AI algorithms, most of which fall under the rubric of “Machine Learning.” (ML) The book explains what learning is in the context of artificial computer systems, and explains the difference between different kinds of learning. In particular, it makes an important distinction between supervised and unsupervised learning, and explains some of the most important techniques for dealing with either one of those cases, such as regression and clustering.

The book provides a lot of examples of the techniques it covers, mostly written in pseudocode. However, I wish it provided more of the concrete examples and exercises for the reader to try on his own. I would have also appreciated a more in-depth exploration of most topics, and less coverage to the more obscure topics, such as random number generation in computers. Other than that, this is a splendid little resource for people who are new to AI and want to get an introduction to this field.


Bojan Tunguz

Bojan Tunguz was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he and his family fled during the civil war for the neighboring Croatia. Over the past two decades he has studied, lived and worked in the United States. He is a theoretical physicist with degrees from Stanford and University of Illinois. Tunguz has taught physics at several prominent liberal arts colleges and has been writing about physics, science and technology for more than a decade. He also has a wide spectrum of interests, and reads and writes about current events, society, culture, religion and politics. Over the years he has reviewed many of the books that he has read, and posted his reviews on various online outlets. In 2011 he had become a top 10 reviewer on, where he continues to be very active. Aside from reading and writing, Tunguz enjoys traveling, digital photography, hiking, and fitness. He resides with his wife in Indiana. You can follow my review updates on the following pages as well: Facebook: Twitter: Google+:

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  1. […] book also suffers from the same issues that I encountered in Volume 1. It is poorly typeset, especially in the Kindle edition. It provides a lot of examples of the […]


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