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Publisher's Summary

What does it actually mean to be rational? Not Hollywood-style "rational", where you forsake all human feeling to embrace Cold Hard Logic. Real rationality, of the sort studied by psychologists, social scientists, and mathematicians. The kind of rationality where you make good decisions, even when it's hard; where you reason well, even in the face of massive uncertainty; where you recognize and make full use of your fuzzy intuitions and emotions, rather than trying to discard them.

In Rationality: From AI to Zombies, Eliezer Yudkowsky explains the science underlying human irrationality with a mix of fables, argumentative essays, and personal vignettes. These eye-opening accounts of how the mind works (and how, all too often, it doesn't!) are then put to the test through some genuinely difficult puzzles: computer scientists' debates about the future of artificial intelligence (AI), physicists' debates about the relationship between the quantum and classical worlds, philosophers' debates about the metaphysics of zombies and the nature of morality, and many more. In the process, Rationality: From AI to Zombies delves into the human significance of correct reasoning more deeply than you'll find in any conventional textbook on cognitive science or philosophy of mind.

A decision theorist and researcher at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, Yudkowsky published earlier drafts of his writings to the websites Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong. Rationality: From AI to Zombies compiles six volumes of Yudkowsky's essays into a single audiobook. Collectively, these sequences of linked essays serve as a rich and lively introduction to the science - and the art - of human rationality.

©2015 Machine Intelligence Research Institute (P)2015 Machine Intelligence Research Institute

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great content. Some chapters should be re-recorded.

Start with the positive: the content is amazing, and perhaps life-changing if you aren’t already familiar with Yudkowski and rationalism. It is wide-ranging without being rambling. The ideas will break your brain.

And now the downsides. Some chapters were totally inaudible, as if the narrator was talking into a cheap webcam mic from across the room. Other chapters had decent audio quality but the narrator was so unfamiliar with the material that they mispronounced or flubbed key words and phrases. I get that it’s hard to narrate a nearly 50-hour anthology, but this is some low quality work.

Ultimately I wish this would get tightened up and organized into a true book — a bible of rationality — rather than a giant collection of thematically-connected thoughts. Trim some redundant bits, add connecting material, and take the audio recording process a bit more seriously.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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One of my top three books ever, maybe number one.

Stop thinking until you've read this. Incredibly important book for everyone, especially, but not just, AI researchers.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Jamie Lister
  • Winchester, Hampshire United Kingdom
  • 04-27-18

Godel, Esher, Bach for 2000s.

Well read by main narrator, but secondary narrators should do again. Could do with editing, and could be more sussinct.

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Interesting read. Narration quality varies.

"Rationality" is a very interesting text with useful insights and important problems to think about.

For a few chapters you should still have the website in front of you, since they contain formulas and/or figures.

At least one of the narrators is very good, but not all of them are.

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Great primer on Rationality

Was much shorter than anticipated, and was really useful for getting up to speed enough to participate in events held by the Cambridge-area Rationality community.

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Excellent content, amateur narration

The main narrator was excellent, and reads the majority of the chapters but the other narrators were quiet, muffled, and background noises could be heard

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  • Mark
  • 05-08-18

Long but worth it

I think I understood about 70% of the book but it was enough to make me feel like I have super powers.

For the most part, I found the book highly accessible, largely entertaining and extremely useful.

Would recommend it to anyone who wants to know how to use their mind more effectively.