- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Ecco; 1 edition (August 25, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062266683
- ISBN-13: 978-0062266682
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots 1st Edition
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“This thoughtful analysis by Markoff, a reporter for The New York Times, wades into the ethical and philosophical questions that such technological advances inevitably raise.” (New York Times Paperback Row)
“Mr. Markoff focuses on the personalities, since technology depends on the values of its creators. The human element makes the subject accessible. (His chapter on the history of AI is superb.)” (The Economist)
“Neither alarmist nor affirmative [MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE] contain[s] urgent, compelling and relevant calls to consciously embed our values in the systems we design, and to critically engage with our choices…. Before welcoming our robotic overlords, read [this] book.” (New Scientist)
“John Markoff of The New York Times highlights the compelling contrast between AI and intelligence amplification (IA). He chronicles the fascinating and often antagonistic evolution of these fields since 1956, when both terms were coined.” (Nature)
“Markoff did his homework and capably tackles interesting things.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“[F]ascinating, informative, thought-provoking…” (San Jose Mercury News)
“A detailed, engrossing history of robotics…This revealing look at profound technological and economic developments will unsettle anyone who has a job to lose.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Readers who like their history with a little personality will enjoy this detailed exploration of the development of computers and robotics as assistive or control technologies and the people who make it happen.” (Library Journal)
“Will robots of the future be our partners or our Frankenstein’s monster? You should read this book. As Markoff explains in this engrossing narrative filled with colorful characters and head-snapping insights, the answer is up to us.” (Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and The Innovators)
“How should we balance what machines can do for us, and what they can help us do ourselves? Markoff hits on one of the central questions in technology today. A fascinating read.” (Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest)
From the Back Cover
Robots are poised to transform today's society as completely as the Internet did twenty years ago. Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times science writer John Markoff argues that we must decide to design ourselves into our future, or risk being excluded from it altogether.
In the past decade, Google introduced us to driverless cars; Apple debuted Siri, a personal assistant that we keep in our pockets; and an Internet of Things connected the smaller tasks of everyday life to the farthest reaches of the Web. Robots have become an integral part of society on the battlefield and the road; in business, education, and health care. Cheap sensors and powerful computers will ensure that in the coming years, these robots will act on their own. This new era offers the promise of immensely powerful machines, but it also reframes a question first raised more than half a century ago, when the intelligent machine was born. Will we control these systems, or will they control us?
In Machines of Loving Grace, John Markoff offers a sweeping history of the complicated and evolving relationship between humans and computers. In recent years, the pace of technological change has accelerated dramatically, posing an ethical quandary. If humans delegate decisions to machines, who will be responsible for the consequences? As Markoff chronicles the history of automation, from the birth of the artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation communities in the 1950s and 1960s, to the modern-day brain trusts at Google and Apple in Silicon Valley, and on to the expanding robotics economy around Boston, he traces the different ways developers have addressed this fundamental problem and urges them to carefully consider the consequences of their work. We are on the brink of the next stage of the computer revolution, Markoff argues, and robots will profoundly transform modern life. Yet it remains for us to determine whether this new world will be a utopia. Moreover, it is now incumbent upon the designers of these robots to draw a bright line between what is human and what is machine.
After nearly forty years covering the tech industry, Markoff offers an unmatched perspective on the most drastic technology-driven societal shifts since the introduction of the Internet. Machines of Loving Grace draws on an extensive array of research and interviews to present an eye-opening history of one of the most pressing questions of our time, and urges us to remember that we still have the opportunity to design ourselves into the future—before it's too late.
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John Markoff is a technology and science reporter for the New York Times, and also a former recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Perhaps due to his work in journalism, he focuses mainly on the industry and machines as workers and assisting utilities for workers. Markoff expresses support in the increasing use of robotics in the job industry, though he does acknowledge the negative short-term consequences at the expense of longer-term gains. He emphasizes the implementation of human-centered technologies, in which new machineries are designed in such a way as to aide and work with human users, as opposed to entirely replacing them. The book was published in 2015 and is quite current. Though the author discusses many views and examples from the mid-late 1900s, he also does a thorough job of relating these sometimes-outdated opinions to the current state of the computer science realm. In fact, each chapter itself seemed to flow in a chronological fashion, showing the evolving human-machine relationship over the past 70 years or so. In addition, Markoff also shares and interprets the visions of the future given by many in the field.
Much of the book is devoted to discussing or offering examples of the differing opinions and stances of those in the field of artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation, and the collaboration between the two. Briefly, artificial intelligence looks to mimic and replicate human features and functions in such a way that a robot could sufficiently replace a human, while intelligence augmentation looks to design robots in such a way as to optimally enhance human functions in a collaborative way. Though I find the design and creation of artificial intelligences to be truly fascinating, I strongly support the goals of intelligence augmentation. I agree with many of Sherry Turkle’s points, both stated in this book and in her own novel, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, addressing the loss of features of interactions, relationships and developments that make us uniquely human as technology use increases. I am wary, not of machines of artificial intelligence turning on humans, but of the negative impacts that further increases in human reliance on and trust in technology and machines will cause for the future of humankind. The author did not discuss this consequence nearly as much as I would have liked, but instead focused more on the emergence of robotics in industries, and the effects that would be observed for companies, employed workers, consumers, and the economy.
Markoff does an excellent job of presenting the work of numerous machine intelligence contributers and voices in the computer science realm, including those of Sherry Turkle and Ray Kurzweil. Additionally, he ties multiple aspects of technology impacts, including discussing the topics of social media, the “job apocalypse” and the movie Transcendence. To anyone interested in the exponential growth of advancing technologies, especially in the work realm, I would highly recommend this book for its insightfulness, its substantial offering of varying views and interpretations, and the authors well-explained means for the future and what may lie ahead of us.
Those issues are being hinted in the book, but no cogent plan exists any where that leads to any rebalance
My grandson is a IT engineering student at Georgia Tech and he is now reading my copy, too, and says he's enjoying this history of smart machines very much.