- "No mortal can ever be made invulnerable." True? What do you see as the important implications of this for the issue of vaccination as public health policy?
- Why does Biss dislike consumer confidence? What's wrong with conceiving of the public as "consumers" of health care?
- Do you find anything sexual or vampiric in vaccination?
- "Faith is that which enables us to believe things we know to be untrue." Is that fair? How does it apply to the vaccination debate?
- Do you agree that one must enact and embody one's beliefs? What if one's beliefs imperil public health and safety?
- "We owe our health to our neighbors." 20 But how do we persuade them, or ourselves, of this?
- Have you heard anyone make the argument that public health measures are not for "people like us"? Did you construe it as covert, coded racism?
- "Enlisting a majority in protection of a minority" is often a hard-sell in America. Is this a social justice issue, like voting rights?
Get Out of Here: Scientists Examine the Benefits of Forests, Birdsong and Running Water In “The Nature Fix,” Florence Williams looks at new research on how spending time in nature makes people happier and more creative.
The Quest for Artificial Intelligence — and Where It’s Taking Us Next
By Luke Dormehl
275 pp. TarcherPerigee. Paper, $16.
HEART OF THE MACHINE
Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence
By Richard Yonck
312 pp. Arcade Publishing. $25.99.
Books about science and especially computer science often suffer from one of two failure modes. Treatises by scientists sometimes fail to clearly communicate insights. Conversely, the work of journalists and other professional writers may exhibit a weak understanding of the science in the first place.
Luke Dormehl is the rare lay person — a journalist and filmmaker — who actually understands the science (and even the math) and is able to parse it in an edifying and exciting way. He is also a gifted storyteller who interweaves the personal stories with the broad history of artificial intelligence. I found myself turning the pages of “Thinking Machines” to find out what happens, even though I was there for much of it, and often in the very room...
Continue reading the main story