Your Obsolete Brain: Life and Death in the Age of Superintelligent Machines

December 19, 2017

 

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION

We live not only in a time of social and technological transition, but also of biological, evolutionary, and environmental change. It is also a time of great and growing upheaval–of societies, species, and the planet itself. Artificial intelligence has already permeated many aspects of daily life and will continue to alter the affairs of men and women, institutions, and warfare, in ways both positive and negative, beyond the lifetime of anyone reading these words.

AI is changing how people live, work, learn, play, and interact. It is changing their health outlook, consumer behavior, employment prospects, work place, and capacity to thrive in a rapidly changing world growing increasingly dependent on technology. Behind the scenes, AI is drastically changing business, banking, and the global economy. The continued development and deployment of AI-empowered weapons have already changed the way that wars and, inevitably, policing, will be conducted in the future.

AI development currently promises spectacular advances in health care, disease eradication, prosthetics, education, and resolution of crucial global problems such as climate change, resource depletion, and famine. However, the specter of autonomous weapons equipped with human reasoning, super-intelligent computers disdainful of their intellectually human inferiors, and virus-like nan robot viruses are more real than most people realize or want to believe. The means to create weapons that operate independently of human operators is not merely science fantasy; it already exists. From flying laser cannons to robot tanks and submarines, the advent of AI-controlled weapons has already spawned a futuristic arms race. AI milestones are virtually toppling like dominoes, day by day. One event is certain: ultimately, the quality of life and possibly the entire fate of everyone who lives on Earth will be forever impacted by artificial intelligence from birth to death–and possibly beyond.

 

REVIEW

 

‘We who are alive now may well constitute the last purely human society’

By Piaras on December 18, 2017 for Emerald Book Reviews

This book was a great help to me as I tried to learn more about Artificial Intelligence and how it works. It’s safe to say I would never have read a jargon filled scientific text on the subject, but the author makes this a very interesting and easy to read book. The author’s writing style is conversational and clear, and he comes across as being a natural teacher, making the work very obtainable. So, it’s important to point out that you don’t need any background knowledge whatsoever to appreciate this book.

Artificial Intelligence is an area of computer science that deals with ‘giving machines the ability to seem like they have human intelligence’. Consequently, giving the power of a machine to duplicate intelligent human behavior. It’s both a fascinating and terrifying subject which will have far reaching consequences that will completely transform civilization as we know it. While most benefits of civilization stem from intelligence, how can we enhance these benefits with artificial intelligence without being replaced on the job market and perhaps altogether?

Bestselling author Dennis L. Foster provides a sobering and thought-provoking look that he bases on factual events, developments, and research that explain how AI is affecting and will continue to affect our lives, in ways that are ‘good, bad, ugly, but also beautiful’.

An excerpt from the book provides a provocative and challenging statement that will surely make us sit up and pay attention: ‘As civilization continues to increase its dependency on technology, opting out will not be part of the discussion. It’s one thing to have a tattoo removed, another altogether to have a brain implant disconnected. At some point, humanity becomes a “platform,” comparable to a computer’s operating system, for the installation of performance-boosting enhancements. Personality traits then become “features”, abilities become “assets,” and shortcomings “liabilities.”’

As science and technology progresses at light speed, we need to read this book; not only for our children or grandchildren, but for ourselves. The impact of AI is upon us now. A highly recommended read and a well deserved five stars.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Foster is the author of 18 nonfiction books, 30 textbooks, five novels, and a collection of poems. Eleven of his books have been translated into five different languages. His published volumes include two bestsellers and seven featured book club selections. His artwork has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the U.S. His photography has appeared in numerous books and magazines. He has received two honorary doctorate degrees for his writing and was cited by the United Nations Environment Program.

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