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san diego, ca | Member Since 2010

  • 4 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 174 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015

  • I, Robot

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    They mustn't harm a human being, they must obey human orders, and they must protect their own existence...but only so long as that doesn't violate rules one and two. With these Three Laws of Robotics, humanity embarked on a bold new era of evolution that would open up enormous possibilities, and unforeseen risks.

    Herb says: "Forget the violence - Read this one for the humor"
    "An Eternal Book. Excellent narration"

    I loved this audiobook and here is why. First the content itself is remarkable. The themes chosen by Asimov are right on target and are more relevant today than at anytime since the publication of this novel.

    As a roboticist myself, my impression of Asimov's 3 laws has radically changed over the last 2 decades. When I first studied robots, I thought anything like the 3 laws and the idea of positronic brains where a far fetched fantasy. Now, the study of robot ethics, emotions, and personality are very serious topics as we learn to build robots that interact closely with humans.

    Asimo builds his book using the 3 laws as axioms or postulates and then explores the ramification of those postulates. This is exactly what mathematicians do. In essence Asimov has translated the mathematical thought process into a wonderful novel. But he also uses these postulates to probe the basic nature of human beings.

    Now, after 20 years of working with robots, I can state that that Asimov's vision was breathtaking.

    Second, I loved the narration. I admit that it took a couple of stories to have my ear tuned to the speakers voice, but by the end of this audiobook, I found myself craving for more.

    This audiobook is a "must have" for anyone who loves humanity or robots.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Ray Kurzweil
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Ray Kurzweil, the bold futurist and author of the New York Times best seller The Singularity Is Near, is arguably today’s most influential technological visionary. A pioneering inventor and theorist, he has explored for decades how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities. Now, in his much-anticipated How to Create a Mind, he takes this exploration to the next step: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create vastly intelligent machines.

    Ryan says: "Articulate but familiar brain-inspired AI pitch"
    "Monumental, transparent, translucent, transcendent"
    What did you love best about How to Create a Mind?

    Kurzweil tackles one of the biggest scientific mysteries our our ages: How to build a synthetic mind. Instead of descending into mumbo jumbo, touchy feely nonsense, he sets forth a vision that makes a lot of sense, even to sophisticated practitioners. Sure, I think he over simplified the solution, but he gives enough specific hypothesis that one could spend decades fleshing out, refuting, refining his ideas.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Create a Mind?

    All of it

    What about Christopher Lane’s performance did you like?

    Excellent, extremely pleasant to listen to his voice. Slightly arrogant which suits the material in the book.

    Any additional comments?

    Well, the only downside is that Lane mispronounced a few words... especially "von Neumann" repeatedly (saying "von New--man" which is simply not correct. This really bugged me. Clearly Kurzweil did not review the entire performance before giving his ok.

    Otherwise his performance was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cloud Atlas

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Cassandra Campbell, Kim Mai Guest, and others

    A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history.

    Elizabeth says: "thoroughly enjoyed"
    "Best AudioBook of the century?"
    Would you listen to Cloud Atlas again? Why?

    If you love the English language and all of its great authors, you will love this book and this audio performance. I can only compare this to Moby Dick in its complexity or Charles Dickens in its story telling. The audio recording would have delighted Orson Wells. What is wonderful about this book is that it moves along at a nice clip, with stories that make you laugh out loud or gasp. Your mind is intoxicated. I am half way through the book and my greatest fear is that the book will end and I will have to rejoin the real world.

    David Mitchell is a genius, the actors superb.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Jules Verne
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Geologist Otto Lidenbrock is perusing an ancient Icelandic manuscript when he discovers a mysterious encrypted note. The message reveals the account of a sixteenth-century explorer who claims to have found a passageway to the center of the earth.

    Phillip says: "Great book, wrong narrator"
    "Good... if you can stand the accent"

    I love Jules Verne. A few weeks ago, I had just finished listening to 20,000 leagues under the see read by Harlan Ellison. Mr. Ellison made the experience of listening to this well known classic fresh and immediate. I was therefore anxious to listen to this other Verne classic, Journey to the center of the earth.

    Though I was positively disposed to the material and the style of the author, I found the narration unbearable between the extremely well done dialog accents.

    The narrator affects a pompous, arrogant English accent that puts me off. He did not sound at all excited about the material. Indeed, the reading was rather perfunctory. Try as I might to adapt to the accent, hoping that it would become 'invisible' with enough habituation, I am still in pain as I listen even after several hours.

    My image of an excited young nephew going on an an adventure of a lifetime is not met in this work. Instead, the narrator sounds like a middle aged man giving an account of his latest polo match over afternoon tea.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful

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