In Our Own Image by George Zarkadakis audiobook

In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence

By George Zarkadakis
Read by Gildart Jackson

Blackstone Publishing 9781605989648
13.82 Hours Unabridged
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A timely and important book that explores the societal and ethical implications of artificial intelligence as we approach the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution George Zarkadakis explores one of humankind’s oldest love-hate relationships: our ties with artificial intelligence, or AI. He traces AI’s origins in ancient myth, through literary classics like Frankenstein to today’s science fiction blockbusters, arguing that a fascination with AI is hardwired into the human psyche. He explains AI’s history, technology, and potential; its manifestations in intelligent machines; its connections to neurology and consciousness, as well as—perhaps most tellingly—what AI reveals about us as human beings. In Our Own Image argues that we are on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution—poised to enter the age of artificial intelligence as science fiction becomes science fact. Ultimately, Zarkadakis observes, the fate of AI has profound implications for the future of science and humanity itself.

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Summary

Summary

A timely and important book that explores the societal and ethical implications of artificial intelligence as we approach the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution

George Zarkadakis explores one of humankind’s oldest love-hate relationships: our ties with artificial intelligence, or AI. He traces AI’s origins in ancient myth, through literary classics like Frankenstein to today’s science fiction blockbusters, arguing that a fascination with AI is hardwired into the human psyche. He explains AI’s history, technology, and potential; its manifestations in intelligent machines; its connections to neurology and consciousness, as well as—perhaps most tellingly—what AI reveals about us as human beings.

In Our Own Image argues that we are on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution—poised to enter the age of artificial intelligence as science fiction becomes science fact. Ultimately, Zarkadakis observes, the fate of AI has profound implications for the future of science and humanity itself.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Zarkadakis interweaves sci-fi visions with explorations of the philosophy, technology, and deep history of artificial superintelligence.” Financial Times (London)
“A fantastic journey into the cultural origins of artificial intelligence, in philosophy, neuroscience, and the history of computing.” Le Temps (Geneva)
“George Zarkadakis knows AI. Unlike a lot of the people writing and thinking about it, he has real cultural breadth, too.” Aeon
“Zarkadakis passionately, yet carefully, leads readers chronologically through the development of key concepts in the understanding of mind and intelligence…By the conclusion of this highly accessible work, Zarkadakis convincingly posits a future in which ‘post-humanism will have morphed into trans-humanism,’ showing how a romance with AI will present humans with a daunting dilemma.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Advances in computers have made artificial intelligence a new hot topic for most observers—but not science writer and futurist Zarkadakis, who maintains that it is an ancient human obsession…A delightfully lucid combination of the history, philosophy, and science behind thinking machines.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Zarkadakis is an exciting and original thinker in the field of artificial intelligence and has written a book that is timely and important.” Jim Al-Khalili, PhD, OBE, author of Paradox
“A mindful and historical look at the hope, hype, and reality of artificial consciousness.” Stuart Hameroff, coauthor of Consciousness and the Universe

Reviews

Reviews

by Rogue Writer 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

NOT a Book about AI

Do not buy this book as a book about Artificial Intelligence. Listen to this book as a history of the philosophy of brain, mind, and consciousness. If you get this book to learn about the exciting field of AI technologies, you will be woefully disappointed. A much, much better book on the subject is <i>How to Build an Android by David F. Dufty. In fact, listen to both and you’ll find that Zarkadakis has no business trying to assert himself as having anything meaningful to add to the development of AI, as much of his naysaying is already a reality.

This book smacks of pretention and of a man trying to position himself as an authority on AI. He is anything but. He is a philosopher at best. He stretches his claims to the point of ridiculousness, like claiming that 40,000 year old cave paintings are our first attempts at AI or that Frankenstein’s monster constitutes AI. You can make anything seem true with the right philosophic twistings.

He is arrogant and pretentious. I find it problematic when philosophers take stabs at “soft sciences.” Or when he claims that only humans are self-aware. Can you be any more anthropocentric? He also doesn’t understand or misrepresents many of the things he talks about. For example, when he calls the predecessors of homosapiens our “grandparents,” he uses an analogy that evolutionary biologists have long railed against as it’s incorrect.

Overall, this book is a game of semantics. In much the same way as economist Thomas Sowell does, Zarkadakis presents definitions of concepts that do not match any of the definitions provided in dictionaries. Take his usage of the term “cybernetics” for example. He also frames the Gaia Theory/Hypothesis as a “fear narrative, “ which shows he doesn’t actually understand it. That said, the bulk of his book reads like it’s a fear narrative in that he keeps bringing up the specter of negative repercussions of AI.

Perhaps most damning to his attempts to position himself as an authority is this statement: “AI had its heyday in the 1960s and early 1970s”? What? It’s in its heydays right now! Again, please refer to How to Build an Android.

Another problematic statement that makes him lose credibility: “Movies such as Iron Man promote the fiction that mortals can become god-like superheroes given the right technology.” How is this fiction? We are moving ever closer to exactly this. Just research the projects at DARPA, and you’ll find that many of the things that Tony Stark’s suit can do are technologies that either already exist or are in development.

He also claims that robots cannot achieve human mobility, like climbing stairs, when in fact such robotic technology already exists. See Honda’s Asimo, or Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog. Perhaps most damning to his credibility is that he rails against the fact that so much of human communication and understanding is achieved through the use of metaphor (“planes don’t really fly, they glide”), yet he falls back on metaphors over and over again in his own writing, many times in ways that do not work.

So, this is a lousy book for learning more about AI. However, if you want to listen to a contentious book on the history and philosophy of brain, mind, and consciousness, this book is decent. Listen to it for that.

Author

Author Bio: George Zarkadakis

Author Bio: George Zarkadakis

George Zarkadakis has a PhD in artificial intelligence. Awarded a knighthood by the French government for his international work in science communication, he writes for several international publications, including the London Daily Telegraph, the Huffington Post, and Aeon magazine.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Technology & Engineering
Runtime: 13.82
Audience: Adult
Language: English