Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Machines of Loving Grace by John Markoff

It has long been argued that the singularity of artificial intelligence may either save us or destroy us. MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE by John Markoff explores the former hope. Two separate labs at the Pentagon are researching how either to recreate the human brain or to augment it, and as George Lucas once put it, “Our technology is going up like a rocket ship, but our social progress is a flat line.” So while a super intelligence may decide to exterminate us in order to save species we are exterminating, it may also help us overcome our ego delusions with technology to restore what we are destroying via pollution and overpopulation, and make our lives infinitely better in the process. Markoff interviews computer scientists and business people alike to lay out the whole history of our relationship with automation and machines to arrive at some conclusions about where we may be heading. The development of robots, both autonomous and software programs like SIRI, enter into the picture, and narrator George Newbern is host for this in-depth overview of the subject, guiding listeners from the hallways of MIT and Silicon Valley to the personal home robots that are coming faster than anyone expects. 
Other new books out today are MAKE ME by Lee Child, read by Dick Hill; TO LIVE FOREVER by Jack Vance, classic science fiction read by Kevin Kenerly (first time on audio); also check out THINKING, science edited by John Brockman. 

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