How the body shapes the way we think

Rolf Pfeifer and Josh C. Bongard

Publisher MIT Press
ISBN 978-0-262-16239-5
RRP £25.95
Reviewed by Deryn Graham FBCS
Score 7 out of 10

How the body shapes the way we think book cover The authors present a possible theory of intelligence and embodiment, illustrating the applications of this theory in ubiquitous computing, business and management, and the psychology of human memory. They suggest that their theory has implications for both natural and artificial intelligence.

Pfeifer and Bongard begin by describing intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and embodiment, providing the background to 'what the book is about'. They then proceed to explain their theory of intelligence, before discussing the aforementioned applications, finally giving a useful summary of the main points.

As the authors are pleased to admit themselves, their theory is rather 'obvious'. The list of references is impressive, only Vygotsky is missing from the roll call.

Hardly light reading, however, it is eloquently explained as succinctly as possible. Although written in 'plain English' (annoyingly 'American English'), it refers to many concepts from philosophy, psychology, and AI for example, which would mean a very steep learning curve for a true novice. Aimed at all disciplines, this book would appeal mostly to those involved in artificial intelligence or intelligent systems design.

Overall, a very interesting read, but arguably more for the specialist, or those highly motivated to grasp such ideas.

In terms of value for money, it probably depends upon the point made immediately above. It costs £25.95 but it is a hardback. Lesser enthusiasts may wait for the paperback version.

MIT Press