My Bookshelf: Machines of Loving Grace

My Bookshelf: Machines of Loving Grace

As the Internet did twenty years ago, robots now stand poised to transform society completely.   In this book, the author argues that it is imperative that people decide to design themselves into the future we now stand facing or risk being excluded from it completely.

During the past decade, the advancement in technology and robotics has seen Google introducing us to driverless cars, Apple debuted Siri and the Internet of Things has managed to connect some of everyday life’s smallest tasks to the farthest reaches of the web. Robots now play an important role in business, education and healthcare. This new era comes with it, the promise of extremely powerful machines but it also raises a question, first asked more than half a century ago when the intelligent machine was born, will we control these systems or will they control us?

In this book, the author extensively examines the history of the complicated, and ever evolving relationship between computers and humans. The technological change, in recent years, has accelerated dramatically posing an ethical predicament; should humans delegate decision making to machines, raising the question who is responsible for the consequences?   The author in tracing the history of automation, from the birth of artificial intelligence in the 1960s to modern day brain trusts Google and Apple in Silicon Valley, to Boston’s expanding robotics economy, he looks at the various ways in which developers have dealt with this problem and urges them to carefully consider the implications of their work. We are at the brink of the next stage of the computer revolution, Markoff argues, where robots will play a huge role in transforming modern life as we know it, yet, it remains for us to determine whether this new world will be utopia or not. Determining this will weigh heavily on the ability of the designers of these robots to draw a bright line between what is human and what is machine.


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