This book’s first goal, as per the author’s own words, “is to let you in on the secrets of machine learning.”
In fact, in the prologue to his book The Master Algorithm, Pedro Domingos explains it in simple words:
“You may not know it, but machine learning is all around you. When you type a query into a search engine, it’s how the engine figures out which results to show you (and which ads, as well). When you read your email, you don’t see most of the spam, because machine learning filtered it out. Go to Amazon.com to buy a book or Netflix to watch a video, and a machine learning system helpfully recommends some you might like. Facebook uses machine learning to decide which updates to show you, and Twitter does the same for tweets. Whenever you use a computer, chances are machine learning is involved somewhere.”
With this book, the author allows us to better understand the digital revolution we are experiencing and, above all, how we should intelligently use the new technologies.
Because, as he also stresses:
“When a new technology is as pervasive and game-changing as machine learning, it’s not wise to let it remain a black box. Opacity opens the door to error and misuse. Amazon’s algorithm, more than any one person, determines what books are read in the world today. The N.S.A.’s algorithms decide whether you’re a potential terrorist. Climate models decide what’s a safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Stock-picking models drive the economy more than most of us do. You can’t control what you don’t understand, and that’s why you need to understand machine learning—as a citizen, a professional, and a human being engaged in the pursuit of happiness.”