Artificial intelligence (AI) has so far been a major disappointment. After a half-century of work, in only a few instances has it even come close to meeting the expectations and early promise. Researchers and users have found that many of those tasks that appear so simple are in fact extremely complex. So far, the wireless portion of the web seems to be following a similar pattern. The early promise of being able to take our computers with us everywhere has so far not materialized as the problems are turning out to be greater than first thought. And somewhat ironically, the demand has not been a factor driving the production of wireless solutions. Given this background, the title of this book would seem to be a dual contradiction. However, that is not the case. An enormous amount of work is going into the development of web technologies and the initial goals of building intelligence into the web are not grandiose to the point of impossibility. Most of these efforts are explained in detail and in a style aimed at managers and others who must justify and use the technology once it is available. Technical jargon is largely kept to the minimum and when used, it is not necessary to read it to understand the general concepts. Despite my deep involvement in technology, I always remain skeptical regarding what it can do. With this background, I was pleased to see how even-keeled the authors remained as they described what is being done now, how they expect it to improve and what they see as some of the consequences. Given the acknowledged potential for new technologies such as voice recognition, it would have been easy for them to become a bit evangelical about something that even this hardened cynic will acknowledge has a greater potential for altering our society than television. Some of the areas covered are Extensible Matkup Language or XML, Wireless Markup Language or WML, web services, mobile protocols such as Bluetooth, and speech recognition.
If you are starting to pay serious, a.k.a about to spend money on it, attention to the role that wireless technologies may have in your business, then this is the book for you. Written with the manager in mind, it will inform rather than overwhelm.
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About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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