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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Del Monte examines the current state of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and extrapolates to the day when machines have thought capacity - not just computing ability, but consciousness - at or beyond humans'. The outlook seems grim. Why, after all, would the automated factories, mining and power generation, and machine intelligences bother to keep us around? Especially when we might present a threat to their existence. We might expect no better treatment at their hands than the smallpox virus received at ours.

It's the job of futurists, technology forecasters, and even SF writers to ask the "what if" questions and to come up with answers, however speculative or tentative. It's also the job of informed readers to examine the reasoning provided and its basis in current fact - and that's where I think other lines of reasoning than Del Monte's might apply. First, there's the notion of a human brain's computing capacity. Reasonable estimates put current supercomputers' capacity within an order of magnitude of a brain's, so raw processing ability might not be the issue it has been. But biological, neural computing differs in many ways from silicon's. Neurons have hundreds or thousands of interconnections but limited processing ability per individual cell. Current supercomputers offer billions of arithmetic operations per second in each of their thousands of processors, but typically have only a dozen or fewer connections between them. Yes, programming can let any unit contact any other, but communication costs dominate actual computation quickly as the mismatch between physical and logical computing structures widens. And, depending on how you define terms, a few cubic inches of muscle tissue has huge computing power in its biochemical and DNA-based regulatory cycles - but don't expect a muscle tissue culture to beat you at chess.

Del Monte frequently cites Ray Kurzweil as a leading thinker about AI, and presents Kurzweil's notion of "The Singularity," that indefinable event horizon beyond which AI expands without limit. His description of Kurzweil notes that he's "Inventor of ...the first music synthesizer" (p.84), a claim that Robert Moog's heirs would surely find open to debate. And, citing Kurzweil's own count, ascribes to him a 94% accuracy rate in technological predictions. For such a remarkable claim, I would hope for independent accounting - self-reporting tends toward the unreliable in every context I've seen it used. Del Monte notes that, as of 2010, "software to emulate human thinking ... does not exist." This report, coming so soon on the heels of many historical, over-zealous reports he mentions, leaves me thinking that AI really is the wave of the future - and could be for a very long time to come.

Although I agree with many of Del Monte's assertions and projections in a broad sense, there's too much (a lot more than I've mentioned) that weakens the foundations of his projected timelines. And, I am not convinced that a competitive, even adversarial relationship with metal minds is the only one, or even the most likely. Despite many misgivings, though, his forebodings seem well worth consideration. It will be a very new thing to interact with minds both like and unlike our own. In the best of worlds, that conversation would help us understand more of what makes us truly human at the same time we learn what makes them truly other.

-- wiredweird
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2014
Physicist DelMonte's The Artificial Intelligence Revolution is an intriguing, fact-supported, "must read" for those attuned to the accelerating robotic replacement of human mechanical/mental processes. As important, his in-your-face admonishments serve as a wake-up call for international recognition/action to assure the survival of the human race as we know it. Not surprisingly, this scientific work, like DelMonte's earlier books ("How to Time Travel" and "Unraveling the Universe's Mysteries") is an easy and enjoyable read for the non-scientist.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2014
Actually not argued at all - just a tirade against AI without making much of a case for why. Sure, he gives reasons, but they are mostly out of fear without any good evidence that what he fears will actually come to pass or be as bad as feared. My basic rule of thumb for these kinds of articles (it's hardly long enough to qualify as a book) is that if the author keeps repeating a few points over and over then he/she is hoping you don't notice that there's not much substantial inside. This is not to say whether De Monte's point is right or wrong (I'm of an open mind); rather, he's trying to make his point by telling you he's right, that you should be afraid and that's the only argument he has to make. Too bad because this is a fascinating subject and something like a true information revolution may very well be in the offing. If it is the next step in the evolution of life on earth it may very well be inevitable, and a planned effort to keep it from coming may be both futile and misguided. However, given human nature I have little doubt we wouldn't be able to agree that something needs to be done to stop it or actually work in unity toward that goal (see Global Climate Change). Recommendation: save your time and skip this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2014
For those interested in the future of artificial intelligence, this is an easy read that covers most of the basic points made by more famous (and original) thinkers, primarily Kurzweil. It is alarmist in tone, taking as a given that artificial intelligences will 1) become self aware, 2) have values and goals that differ from those of humans, and therefore 3) are likely to decide to exterminate us.

Although I question the validity of each of these premises, I gave this book 4 stars primarily because it is clearly and succinctly written, summarizes a lot of information that would otherwise require some tedious searching to find, and lays out issues that should be thought about now, while there is time to think about what sort of safeguards should be put in place to prevent the dystopian outcomes the author warns us about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2014
In his latest offering Louis Del Monte shines the spotlight on Artificial Intelligence. He details the subtle and exponential advancement of technology in recent years and provides a big picture look at what could happen if AI is not controlled.

I think you will find the Artificial Intelligence Revolution more than thought provoking. It's personal; and it may even inspire you to take action. At minimum, the next time you turn on your smart phone or use GPS to find a restaurant you'll wonder who will serve who in the next 50 years.

As usual, Del Monte's writing is straightforward, clear and thorough. It's a good read overall.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2014
The Artificial Intelligence Revolution is my favorite book by Louis A. Del Monte. The concept of IA seems far away until the concepts presented are spelled out like this, making the IA revolution plausible. As a human conscious collective, IA is on our heals, heeding us to be aware and do what we can to raise our voices. First we need to get educated as Del Monte has done well. An interesting book that I will refer to many!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2014
The Artificial Intelligence Revolution: Will Artificial Intelligence Serve Us Or Replace Us? is a well written primer for those who are not familiar with the Singularity and the rapid rise of intelligent technology. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the future of humans. The book has made me more aware of the AI revolution now occurring. Here are some of my observations I made from my real life after reading this informative and understandable book -
On PBS now with Charlie Rose a geneticist is talking about the advances in gene sequencing and how using 3D printing in combination with a gene sequencer and can not only (Reed Hoffman) construct a human heart but construct one especially designed only to fit Charlie Rose and his genes and he also talked about how other scientists are figuring out how the brain works and making great progress of course using new intelligent technology and earlier today on a news program a quadriplegic woman had leaned how to take pictures with the Google glasses only using her mind to take the picture interfacing of course with intelligent technology.

Every day I go to Google translator online to translate my English not only into other languages but to listen to my words with audio translation in other languages. Google translate is amazing if you have never used it you should try. Another example of intelligent technology that has been around for years but getting better.

Today I do not type text messages into my phone to text my children. I talk into my smart phone and it automatically transfers my voice into written text using voice recognition software. Genomics an financial technology and that used in architecture and building software and in Curiosity rover doing science on Mars are just a very miniscule number of examples of intelligent technology in use today. I have interfaced much more with technology than with real humans almost every day for years. Hoffman is still on TV with Charlie Rose talking about dozens of new technologies coming up. No human can keep up with even a small sample size of the new intelligent technologies as they keep transforming and connecting and interconnecting with other intelligent technologies so quickly. I really think the Singularity is going to happen sooner than 20 years and humans will probably not even know when it happens as we are just not smart enough to understand it all.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2014
As an Almost Human fan I was prepared to be a bit put off by this since it has a distinct anti-AI bent to it but I found myself alternately intrigued and horrified by its conclusions.

The author does a brilliant job of clearly and concisely laying out the subject for everyday people like me. He covers subjects such as cyborgs and implants and at what point a human is no longer a human.

The part I found most fascinating was the discussion of whether AIs should have rights at all, let alone rights equal to humans. It was an extremely eye opening and disturbing discussion of a topic I really hadn't thought about much at all.

Although I do mostly agree with the author's assertions I'm not entirely sure I like that he left us with a set of unsettling conclusions and no way to really resolve or prevent the issues. It's all incredibly disturbing and not happy and bright like the movie A.I. led us to normally think of AIs. They're not innocuous little boys, they can be scary, scary things and can actually replace us as a species.

Overall, this was truly a well written, fascinating look into the different topics and I definitely recommend it to those interested in the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2014
The author starts out taking "baby steps" w/AI and computers. At end of each chapter, which are short but detailed, he gives brief summary of the chapter. However, as the chapters progress it gets more and more complicated and graphics are needed to provide more details. Basically he states that his theory, and other engineers that work with AI, suggest that by 2025 (or earlier) only the AI will be the new "human." Thank GOD I won't be around at that time as I'm in my mid-60's now!
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on December 30, 2014
The message of Del Monte's very brief and rather redundant book is essentially: read Kurzweil. For anyone familiar with Kurzweil and the notion of singularity Del Monte offers little of value. Perhaps this could be seen as a primer or Cliff Notes version. While the book mentions some technical concepts, such as intelligent agents and neural nets, it does little to explain or assess them. My take: the "book" is too facile, too rudimentary, and non-penetrating. To call it a book is somewhat generous as it is very short and quite repetitive--basically an elongated essay. On the plus side it is decently written, inexpensive and can be consumed in a couple of hours.
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