Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rapture for the Geeks: When AI Outsmarts IQ, by Richard Dooling

New York: Harmony Books, 2008, pp. 272.

The way it seems to me, not very much has been added to the theorizing of the "technological Singularity" since the rush of books and articles around the turn of the millennium (Hans Moravec's Robot, Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines, Bill Joy's "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us," etc.). Nor have we seen much rigorous testing of the most recent developments in technology against the claims that by then had been very clearly stated and argued. (Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near, for instance, was a distinct disappointment for me on that score.)

I picked up Dooling's book hoping that it would be different, but instead we get the usual round-up of what others (like Kurzweil and Joy) have already said about the matter. As related in Dooling's voice, the result is a robust and at times entertaining discussion that many newcomers to the subject will find worth their time, but it still left me waiting for that really serious reappraisal of what is for a great many futurists nothing less than The Argument.

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