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The End of the Beginning: Life, Society and Economy on the Brink of the Singularity Paperback – May 25, 2015
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About the Author
Dr. Ben Goertzel is a leader of the field of Artificial General Intelligence, and a prolific speaker and writer on topics related to AI and its future. He serves as Chief Scientist of financial prediction firm Aidyia Holdings; Chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC, bioinformatics company Biomind LLC. the Artificial General Intelligence Society and the OpenCog Foundation; and Vice Chairman of futurist nonprofit Humanity+.
Dr. Ted Goertzel is professor emeritus of sociology at Rutgers University, with research expertise in political sociology, statistical data analysis, psychobiography and other areas. In recent years he has published papers and given talks on the future of AI.
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Learned a lot from the articles and the interviews. However, a lot of these authors suffer from ideological bias they have convinced themselves are really based on some 'universally accepted logic'. For example, the worship of European-style social democracies disguised as falsely acknowledging other universal truths like "water is wet". Also, when the author's views/positions are challenged in the interviews, they often show a lack of openmindedness and defensiveness that didn't do much for their credibility nor that of what they were pushing.
Still if you can get past the bias & philosophical warfare, it is worth reading. A lot of ideas and concepts are introduced and it is rich in sources for the more curious to follow up on.
In this important and very readable book they have collected contributions from other veterans of the field (Robin Hanson, Hugo de Garis and Aubrey de Grey, for instance) as well as a series of less well-known thinkers. The contributions tackle most of the questions that we should be asking about the singularity, such as:
When might it happen? Will the technological singularity be preceded by an economic one? Will artificial general intelligence arise from machine learning or from brain emulation? Will it lead rapidly to Superintelligence? Will it be a positive experience for humans?
The common thread running through the book is expressed in a quote by Abraham Lincoln: "the best way to predict the future is to create it". The technologies discussed in this book will have massive impacts on humanity, and they could be very good or very bad. It is up to us to make sure we get the good versions, and this book helps us to work out how.