By @SimonCocking2016 marks the 60-year anniversary of the phrase ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and in this fascinating book, Luke Dormehl charts the weird and wonderful journey of one of mankind’s greatest projects, the creation of Thinking Machines.

This is a story of how what it means to be human in the face of accelerating machine intelligence. It’s about trying to make computers that are smarter than we are, and what happens when it goes wrong. Available from Amazon here.

Are you feeling  little less than up to speed as your own personal smartphone / life organiser app is starting to edge towards ‘creepily all knowing’ rather than just merely super efficient? Chances are you may well have already experienced some AI taking place! This is a well written, readable book that wrestles with the current state of play around important Artificial Intelligence (AI) issues. Dormehl provides a good summary of the evolution of AI from it’s relatively recent origins around sixty years ago, to where we are now, and where things might be going.

 

Over the last six decades scientists and computer programmers have wrestled with the challenge of whether the human brain is merely a very large and complex computer, with a sophisticated, but replicable internal operating system. If this were to be true, then, ultimately it would (theoretically) be possible to create a copy of ‘us’ or at least our brains and identity and store it after our deaths. You can see where this is going already, is it possible to live digitally after our deaths? Maybe it is, and maybe, as humans have often done in many other areas, we have massively underestimated the complexity of the human brain.

In this book Dormehl takes through an enjoyable and thought provoking journey through various leading innovators thoughts on these questions. Ray Kurzweil naturally pops up, as well as Elon Musk and many others who have considered key AI questions, and what they could mean for the future of humanity. Despite no one having all the answers yet, it is vital to try and consider what the future holds for us, instead of merely sleep walking into a future that might not actually be in our own interests.

This book is well worth a read if you are involved in AI, programming, looking to automate various aspects of daily life, and also if you are just planning to be around over the next few decades as humanity enters a very interesting, and potentially irrevocable stage in it’s life and potential evolution. Better to have at least contemplated these topics before the Singularity / Skynet / Matrix informs us we are surplus to it’s needs!


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