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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Review: The Fourth Age by Byron Reese

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity: by Byron Reese

Good book.  I have been an explorer and practitioner in this space for decades.   He covers the space well.   First, I much
like the use of the four ages structure.  So we can think about  how the eras are divided and how people lived in each.  Broad discussion of how we used tools to advance. Also covers the question of how AI will influence the future work we do.  The book is non-technical,  the examples, especially in the last age are interesting,  but no details and no references, so you have to do the work to find out more.

The book is a useful read for you or your non-technical manager.   Its not a how-to, but a possibilities exploration.    Sometimes the author is a bit too glib, but the examples are still instructive.  I like too that he connects some of his examples to interview sessions he has been doing online on GigaOM, with practitioners in AI.   Since there is a lot of opinion and prediction involved, that's helpful to position the book in terms of what experts in the field think.   Makes it less out of date.    For more details about some topics in the book I suggest Nick Bostrom's "Superintelligence: Paths. Dangers, Strategies."  Which is a much more technical read.

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