Talking to Robots: A Brief Guide to Our Human-Robot Futures
David Ewing Duncan (Author)
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One of Time magazine's '32 Books You Need to Read This Summer' -- 'a riveting read'. 'Intensely readable, downright terrifying, and surprisingly uplifting.' Vanity Fair 'A fascinating work of imaginative futurology, a science journalist takes a look at our current technologies and anticipates the human-robot future that could await us - one full of warrior bots, politician bots, doctor bots and sex bots.' One of Barbara VanDenburgh's '5 Books Not to Miss', USA Today One of the best summer reads of 2019, according to top authors David Baldacci and Elizabeth Acevedo on USA Today's Today programme. 'A refreshing variation on the will-intelligent-robots-bring-Armageddon genre . . . this colorful mixture of expert futurology and quirky speculation does not disappoint' Kirkus Reviews What robot and AI systems are being built and imagined right now? What do they say about us, their creators? Will they usher in a fantastic new future, or destroy us? What do some of our greatest thinkers, from physicist Brian Greene and futurist Kevin Kelly to inventor Dean Kamen, geneticist George Church and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, anticipate for our human-robot future? For even as robots and AI intrigue us and make us anxious about the future, our fascination with robots has always been about more than the potential of the technology - it also concerns what robots tell us about being human. From present-day Facebook and Amazon bots to near-future 'intimacy' bots and 'the robot that swiped my job' bots, bestselling American popular science writer David Ewing Duncan's Talking to Robots is a wonderfully entertaining and insightful guide to possible future scenarios about robots, both real and imagined. Featured bots include robot drivers; doc bots; politician bots; warrior bots; sex bots; synthetic bio bots; dystopic bots that are hopefully just bad dreams; and ultimately, God Bot (as described by physicist Brian Greene). These scenarios are informed by discussions with well-known thinkers, engineers, scientists, artists, philosophers and others, who share with us their ideas, hopes and fears about robots. David spoke with, among others, Kevin Kelly, David Baldacci, Brian Greene, Dean Kamen, Craig Venter, Stephanie Mehta, David Eagleman, George Poste, George Church, General R. H. Latiff, Robert Seigel, Emily Morse, David Sinclair, Ken Goldberg, Sunny Bates, Adam Gazzaley, Tim O'Reilly, Tiffany Shlain, Eric Topol and Juan Enriquez. These discussions, along with some reporting on bot-tech, bot-history and real-time societal and ethical issues with robots, are the launch pads for unfurling possible bot futures that are informed by how people and societies have handled new technologies in the past. The book describes how robots work, but its primary focus is on what our fixation with bots and AI says about us as humans: about our hopes and anxieties; our myths, stories, beliefs and ideas about beings both real and artificial; and our attempts to attain perfection. We are at a pivotal moment when our ancient infatuation with human-like beings with certain attributes or superpowers - in mythology, religion and storytelling - is coinciding with our ability to actually build some of these entities.
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About the Author
David Ewing Duncan is an award-winning science journalist. A contributor to Wired, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, National Public Radio, ABC News, The Atlantic, and National Geographic and the bestselling author of eleven books published in twenty-one languages, he was founding director of the Center for Life Science Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Contributor: David Ewing Duncan
- Imprint: Robinson
- ISBN13: 9781472142900
- Number of Pages: 320
- Packaged Dimensions: 162x238x34mm
- Packaged Weight: 526
- Format: Hardback
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Release Date: 2019-07-16
- Binding: Hardback
- Biography: David Ewing Duncan is an award-winning science journalist. A contributor to Wired, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, National Public Radio, ABC News, The Atlantic, and National Geographic and the bestselling author of eleven books published in twenty-one languages, he was founding director of the Center for Life Science Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.