The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos is a short book on Artificial Intelligence, its different schools, their application and its effect on the world. It is not a mathematical read and everyone can pick it up, from experts to people interested in AI.
The book starts by giving an overview of the different approaches to machine learning and the main algorithms in each school of thought. Applications and ideas behind the algorithms are covered in a concise and easy-to-understand manner. Then the author starts to combine these different directions into a “Master Algorithm”, the ultimate learning algorithm. Finally, the author touches on the effect such an algorithm will have on society, from the good to the bad, and shares his thoughts on how we -as humanity- can best harness the algorithm’s power.
What stands out for the book is how well it is written. Especially the chapter dealing with the combination of the different schools reads like something out of fiction; in a good way. The author manages to build a strong narrative with great descriptive work that immerses the reader into its world. I couldn’t put the book down, itching to learn more, a sense of suspense building and building. This is something that is usually reserved for novels, but Domingos does an excellent job in adding a touch of creative writing to get the concepts across.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Artificial Intelligence. It is short enough so that if you are a student in the field, it is a must-have.