- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 18, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195136306
- ISBN-13: 978-0195136302
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #483,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind
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This is science fiction without the fiction--and more mind-bending than anything you ever saw on Star Trek. Moravec, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, envisions a not-too-distant future in which robots of superhuman intelligence have picked up the evolutionary baton from their human creators and headed out into space to colonize the universe.
This isn't anything that a million sci-fi paperbacks haven't already envisioned. The difference lies in Moravec's practical-minded mapping of the technological, economic, and social steps that could lead to that vision. Starting with the modest accomplishments of contemporary robotics research, he projects a likely course for the next 40 years of robot development, predicting the rise of superintelligent, creative, emotionally complex cyberbeings and the end of human labor by the middle of the next century.
After Moravec makes this point, his projections start to get really wild: robot corporations will take up residence in outer space with rogue cyborgs; planet-size robots will cruise the solar system looking for smaller bots to assimilate; and eventually every atom in the entire galaxy will be transformed into data-storage space, with a full-scale simulation of human civilization running as a subroutine somewhere.
His last chapter, which mingles the latest in avant-garde physics with hints of Borges's most intoxicating metaphysical conceits, is a breathtaking piece of hallucinatory eschatology. Moravec concludes by reminding us that even the wildest long-range predictions about the technological future never turn out to be as unhinged as they should have been. --Julian Dibbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Here come the free-roaming robot vacuum cleaners, self-driving cars, robot chess champions, robots that fly and swim. If these machine intelligencesAalready tooling around or on the drawing boardsAleave you blas?, consider this: Robotics pioneer Moravec predicts that if the present exponential growth rate of computing power continues, super-robots that perceive, intuit, adapt, think and even simulate feelings much like human beings will be buildable before 2050. Mixing broad speculations and practical suggestions for speeding up robotics research and development, Moravec, a founder of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, picks up where he left off in Mind Children (in which he suggested the uploading of human minds to software). In this new mind-bending futurist scenario, he predicts that advanced robots will perform all essential manufacturing and food production, pushing humanity into greater leisure and the sharing of wealth. Moravec's hypothetical robots also launch into the cosmos as colonizers, transferring whole industries to outer space. Yet, as these super-minds repeatedly restructure themselves, physical activity will increasingly give way to pure thought; cyberspace will become the inhabited universe and, in a science fiction-like twist, our robotic progeny may turn away from us in behavior and motive. Moravec dares to dream of a trillion-fingered medical robot whose molecular interventions allow it to act as diagnostic instrument, surgeon and medicine, and of quantum computers that make time travel conceivable. In this remarkable report, Moravec may have looked deeper into some aspects of the future than anyone else. Illustrated.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Why not engineer automation to its pleasure giving limits? Instead of giving robots a high quality of life, design automation to increase EVERYONE quality of life and wealth on Earth???
This has a stodgy slow start covering the early years of robotics. But after this the book goes off with a bang. The self professed psychics fundamentalist expands a potential robotic future from basic principles. A thoroughly enlightening read.
Moravec argues that consciousness should not be that hard to developed in robots, in part because consciousness in humans is only a string of physical sensations. Well, Hans, David Hume made this same argument two hundred years ago in a much more convincing way than you just did, and I still don't buy it. The last 200 years of philosophy has wrestled with the question of the existence of the transcendent ego, and if Moravec's robot project hangs on its resolution, I don't think we'll be seeing robots any time soon.
Moravec also tries to assuage our fears of being replaced by robots by arguing that, by the force of evolution, we're really better suited to a life of leisure, where we hunt and fish and don't use our minds too much. So we'll like sitting around while the robots work away at the economy that supports us, while Social Security absorbs 99% of economic output and we collect the dole. He opines that countries that never moved away from their tribal origins, like Saudi Arabia, will have the easiest transition to this new world. (!) Well, if September 11th hasn't put the lie to that, I'm not sure what would. Unless you believe that the only thing that people strive for, the only thing that motivates them to take actions, is a desire for material comforts, Moravec's prediction is clearly wrong. Humans will continue to want to lead lives that give them purpose and direction, and the most obvious example of this is religion. In Moravec's desire to make robots people, it seems he has made people robots.
Most recent customer reviews
Hans Moravec is a faculty member at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University and the chief scientist at Seegrid Corporation.Read more
“… change sculpted our universe and our society …” And by almost any measure society is changing faster than ever “a statement true for at...Read more
I stopped reading it and I donated it.Read more