Picture of author.

Marcus du Sautoy

Author of The Music of the Primes

18+ Works 2,806 Members 47 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Marcus du Sautoy is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Wadham College.
Image credit: Niccolò Caranti a.k.a. Wikipeda User Jaqen

Works by Marcus du Sautoy

Associated Works

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) — Foreword, some editions — 8,081 copies
Mozart : The magic flute : 2015/16 [programme] (2016) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
du Sautoy, Marcus
Legal name
du Sautoy, Marcus Peter Francis
London, England, UK
Places of residence
London, England, UK
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Gillotts School
King James's College
Oxford University (Wadham College)
Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science
University of Oxford
Royal Society
Awards and honors
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (2010)
Berwick Prize (2001)
Michael Faraday Prize (2009)
Zoe Pagnamenta
Anthony Topping
Short biography
Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy OBE FRS (/dʊ ˈsoʊtɔɪ/; born 26 August 1965) is a British mathematician, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford, Fellow of New College, Oxford and author of popular mathematics and popular science books. He was previously a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, Wadham College, Oxford and served as president of the Mathematical Association, an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) senior media fellow, and a Royal Society University Research Fellow.

In 1996, he was awarded the title of distinction of Professor of Mathematics. [from Wikipedia]



I found the book a bit difficult, in the sense of boring, if you have already read many science non-fiction texts, or have a degree in science, particularly if you are the curious scientist. All the common bits from physics, neuroscience, mathematics, are gathered here and presented in summary form.

There are, however, some magic nuggets that emerge both in terms of interesting interviews, or historical details.

Overall I really wished this book was more systematic and complete. It is a good overview but could have been a text to shape the big picture of what we can’t know, rather than a list of pieces.… (more)
yates9 | 11 other reviews | Feb 28, 2024 |
Some interesting biographical info about several of the key players. I didn't find the discussions of their work on primes that illuminating, however. It needed something akin to a "timeline of ideas" to show the various threads and how they were connected.
tgraettinger | 17 other reviews | Nov 22, 2023 |

This is a straightforward romp through various bits of mathematical theory – prime numbers, topology, probability, cryptography and dynamics. I didn’t learn a lot from it, but it is breezily done and will probably appeal to smart older kids who are presumably the target audience.… (more)
nwhyte | 2 other reviews | Apr 1, 2023 |
“Can a well-programmed machine do anything a human can―only better?“

in "The Creativity Code How - AI Is Learning to Write, Paint and Think" by Marcus du Sautoy

Not yet.

AI that does not recognize novelty is simply copying and transforming. "Artist" AIs use Generative Adversarial Networks, which are two nets playing a game, one that encodes the art it consumes the other one that decodes it to a point of equilibrium.

Machines will produce images that we find compelling because they are familiar but meshed up, then we, or maybe the designer of the net decides, this looks good; so, no, it is just regurgitated wallpaper; maybe the net designer could be an artist if you so decide.

The other part of art that is completely missing out of this equation is the desire of the artist to express some in-congruence(?) about the human condition, but this requires consciousness. Our art is informed by our limitations, our senses, and our dreams--where we clean up the brain overloads of consciousness having to deal with environment.

I'd suggest that art is less about optimization, and more about the peculiarities and habits of imperfect beings. What an artist chooses to paint over the course of their career is as interesting as how they actually paint, and certainly more revealing than technical proficiency or learned behaviour based on the reception they receive from others, in most cases at least. Machines operate on a basis of programmed logic, whereas humans come up with stuff that can be totally illogical and yet produce a logical result. In terms of art think of cubism, you would have to programme the machine to think of cubes as it would not come up with it at random unless programmed to do so, therefore the machine is 'not' being creative. I'll believe AI is "creating art" or creative in any way at all when it goes off script from what it was programmed to do. Explains its intention to create something. Creates something and puts it out to the public as art. So for example, when the Algorithm programmed to play board games announces its bored of endless gaming, wants to paint instead, produces an image and asks what you think of its "sunshine over deep waters".

The problem as I see with books like this is that it’s not about getting the computers to create things but getting them to critically appraise their creations and apply quality control. How can they understand the emotional impact of their works in the way that we can and ensure they are culturally relevant and tasteful. I'm guessing the scientists like du Sautoy are probably getting their machines to benchmark their books against existing ones but that's likely to lead to a very derivative form of "creativity" (though it could be argued it's the way a lot of creative humans work...). Too bad du Sautoy did not delve more into AI. I loved the geeky parts but that's not enough.

One should hope that if AI works are sold, the AI "entity", being the artist, gets its rightful share of the proceeds. I wonder what it will do with the money. Will this be possible in the future? Maybe, but then it will be machine art appreciated by machines.
… (more)
antao | 3 other reviews | Sep 22, 2022 |



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