*** Machines of Loving Grace by John Mankoff

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots meanders at times, but I found myself fascinated by the author’s careful distinction between the proponents of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which aims to replace humans by machines and those of Intelligence Amplification (IA), which sees robots as helpers to people. This makes for a much more optimistic and interesting book than the rant-y Rise of the Robots, reviewed here earlier.

There are many personal stories of pioneers and heroes of the field, and many stories of companies that met with success or (often) utter failure). They show how the visionaries manage to imagine a future long before technology could achieve their dreams, and how commercial dreams had to be adapted (from space explorer to Roomba, for instance). The book will be of great interest to anyone working in technology, but would also appeal to those outside the field who wonder or worry about its evolution and impact on our lives.




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