Simon & Schuster
February 25, 1993
Fuzzy Logic is an eye-opening book – an exciting tour of a high-tech world where visionary computer scientists are inventing the future, and a disturbing lesson in shortsighted business practices.
Imagine tossing your laundry into a “fuzzy” washing machine, pushing a button, and leaving the machine to do the rest, from measuring out detergent to choosing a wash temperature. Imagine a microwave oven that watches over meals with more sensitivity than a human cook. Imagine a subway system that stops and starts so smoothly that passengers don’t bother holding onto straps. Futuristic fantasy? No. In Japan, this is reality – and it’s starting to explode into our marketplace.
Lotfi Zadeh, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, invented fuzzy logic in 1964. Conventional logic divides the world into yes and no, black and white. Fuzzy logic deals and shades of grey. It can thus make computers think like people.
But when Zadeh tried to sell his idea to the American academic community and to American companies, he met with ridicule and scorn. Only the Japanese saw the logic of fuzzy logic, and soon such companies as Matsushita and Sony will earn billions selling it back to us. And they will have a head start on the dazzling future possibilities of fuzzy logic:
- Software that predicts the stock market based on the daily news
- Cars that drive themselves
- Sex robots with a humanlike repertoire of behavior
- Computers that understand and respond to normal human language
- Molecule-sized soldiers of health that roam the bloodstream, killing cancer cells and slowing the aging process
Fuzzy Logic is the compelling tale of this remarkable new technology and the fascinating people who made it happen. It is also the story of what it took for American business to catch on to fuzzy logic – and how it will soon affect the lives of every one of us.
Daniel McNeil has written numerous books and articles on high-tech, and his work has also appeared in fiction, travel, history, law, and education publications. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and lives with his wife in Los Angeles, California.
Paul Freiberger has written about advanced technology for more than a decade. He is co-author of Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer, and covered Silicon Valley for six years at the San Francisco Examiner. He now works at Interval Research Corp., which is pursuing the high-tech breakthroughs of the 1990s and beyond. He lives in San Mateo, California, with his wife and two-year-old son.