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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Book: Stories, Dice and Rocks that Think, by Byron Reese

 Completed reading ....  Recommended!  An excellent book that looks at a number of leaps of key technical history that have led us to today.   Should be read by everyone who seeks to understand the possibility and limits of our AI future.   A very nice positioning of how we got here, and the inherent challenges that are left. 

Stories, Dice, and Rocks That Think: How Humans Learned to See the Future--and Shape It  ...  
  by Byron Reese 

". . . Byron Reese gets to the heart of what makes humans different from all others." —Midwest Book Review

What makes the human mind so unique? And how did we get this way?   Amazon Description:

This fascinating tale explores the three leaps in our history that made us what we are—and will change how you think about our future.

Look around. Clearly, we humans are radically different from the other creatures on this planet. But why? Where are the Bronze Age beavers? The Iron Age iguanas? In Stories, Dice, and Rocks That Think, Byron Reese argues that we owe our special status to our ability to imagine the future and recall the past, escaping the perpetual present that all other living creatures are trapped in. 

Envisioning human history as the development of a societal superorganism he names Agora, Reese shows us how this escape enabled us to share knowledge on an unprecedented scale, and predict—and eventually master—the future.

Thoughtful, witty, and compulsively readable, Reese unravels our history as an intelligent species in three acts: 

Act I: Ancient humans undergo “the awakening,” developing the cognitive ability to mentally time-travel using language

Act II: In 17th century France, the mathematical framework known as 'probability theory' is born—a science for seeing into the future that we used to build the modern world

Act III: Beginning with the invention of the computer chip, humanity creates machines to gaze into the future with even more precision, overcoming the limits of our brains

A fresh new look at the history and destiny of humanity, readers will come away from Stories, Dice, and Rocks that Think with a new understanding of what they are—not just another animal, but a creature with a mastery of time itself.  ... ' 

In Amazon.

>   See also his previous book, which I also enjoyed:   "The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity"    By Byron Reese 

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