November 29, 2019

Book release: How machines learn

IST Austria Professor and book editor Christoph Lampert explains Artificial Intelligence (AI) based on everyday situations for easy understanding.

Christoph Lampert is Professor at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST Austria) and group leader of the research group for computer vision and machine learning. Christoph Lampert © IST Austria

We don’t see it, but AI is everywhere around us – it has already conquered our lives. It helps us to search the internet, translate street signs when on holidays, and allows us to navigate our smartphones in an intuitive way. AI allows the fire brigade to beat traffic in an emergency, helps to optimize agriculture with improved fertilizing, contributes to reports concerning climate change and helps us to predict the interaction of new drugs potentially causing side effects. But AI also makes personalized advertising on the internet and around-the-clock surveillance of public places possible. AI takes over more and more tasks that have previously been reserved for humans. “The changes brought about by AI affect everybody in society, that’s why everybody should also be able to discuss and contribute to shaping it”, says Christoph Lampert. Only this way the whole society can participate in an open discussion about it. Christoph Lampert together with two other editors and an interdisciplinary group of students wants to support this discussion with their popular science book “Wie Maschinen lernen” (“How machines learn”) published by Springer. 

“Certainly, with the rapid development of new AI methods, the risk of misuse also increases,” admits Lampert. In this respect, it is not surprising that a public debate on the effects of AI on society has emerged in recent years. What is happening when some states use AI to monitor their citizens? What information can AI gain from the data sets that large corporations collect from their billions of users? How does AI change communication or the work environment? What consequences does this have for each individual and for society as a whole? What limits should there be for AI? “Artificial intelligence is probably the most exciting future technology of our time, but unfortunately for many of us, it is still a closed book,” summarize the editors Kristian Kerstin, Christoph Lampert and Constantin Rothkopf in the foreword to the book.

„Wie Maschinen lernen“ (book in German) © Springer

With their book, they want to shed some light on AI. “This book was written by budding experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning to make both accessible and to move from utility and use in everyday life to understanding it. They aim to inform, to explain buzzwords and to discuss opportunities and risks – for more awareness, more decision-making authority and, in the end, certainly for less fear and less hysteria,” writes Matthias Kleiner, President of the Leibniz Association and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the AI Competence Centers in Germany, in his introductory statement. The book was preceded by the scientific lecture series “Artificial Intelligence – Facts, Opportunities and Risks” of the “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes” during the last two years. Numerous meetings with a group of 25 students provided a lot of information, amazement, discussion and laughter. The book presents the results of these discussions: an insight into the current state of artificial intelligence – prepared by prospective experts in an understandable way. Without complex mathematical formulas, this popular science book presents the basic methods, applications and procedures of machine learning (ML) and AI. Lisa, the protagonist in the book, illustrates many topics using everyday situations. In this way, even laypersons can access the specialist knowledge that was previously reserved for only experts.


Kristian Kersting | Christoph Lampert | Constantin Rothkopf (Hrsg.)
Wie Maschinen lernen

2019, 259 S.
ISBN 978-3-658-26762-9
Also available as eBook



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