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Publisher's Summary

After billions of dollars and 50 years of effort, researchers are finally cracking the code on artificial intelligence. As society stands on the cusp of unprecedented change, Jerry Kaplan unpacks the latest advances in robotics, machine learning, and perception powering systems that rival or exceed human capabilities.

Driverless cars, robotic helpers, and intelligent agents that promote our interests have the potential to usher in a new age of affluence and leisure - but, as Kaplan warns, the transition may be protracted and brutal unless we address the two great scourges of the modern developed world: volatile labor markets and income inequality. He proposes innovative, free-market adjustments to our economic system and social policies to avoid an extended period of social turmoil. His timely and accessible analysis of the promise and perils of artificial intelligence is a must-listen for business leaders and policy makers on both sides of the aisle.

©2015 Jerry Kaplan (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This accessible and timely work is suitable for technology enthusiasts and those readers with an interest in the application of robotics and AI to the workforce of the future." ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A must read to understand the coming AI shift.

An entertaining and thought provoking look into the logical and inevitable future when artificial intelligence is part of our every day lives, making decisions for us. You probably wonder - What will it be like?

If you have a car, you already know.

Your ABS breaks are a form of artificial intelligence algorithm that take your decision making power away from you. You slam on the brake, but the computer only takes that as a suggestion to stop. The computer prioritizes a controlled over stopping time/distance to stop.

The book starts with an eye opening summary of the existing algorithms that already make decisions for us like what to watch or listen to, posts to read online, what route to take driving home, and even what price to pay for products.

We then teleport into the future and learn about the moral and logistical challenges of owning AI autonomous helpers that will be able to act as our agents.

TIP: incorporate your AI servant as it's own entity to be indemnified in case it gets into an accident or commits a crime, the same way taxi companies do today.

How will the legal system in the future cope with AI servants and autonomous driving cars? For that we get a history lesson in slavery, the "corporations are people" lobbyist movement, and some musings on how the legal system might shift to adapt to autonomous AI corporate agents.

There's a very informative and educational history of Amazon and Jeff Bezos, explaining how they are already using artificial intelligence to optimize every aspect of shopping - from robots replacing people, to deep learning algorithms determining how much you will pay for a TV at 5 am vs 10 pm, based on your recent shopping history, your demographics and your search history.

There's a whole section on the economics of how we will be affected by AI depreciating the majority of simple jobs like driving, serving, construction, etc.

The author proposes and interesting shift in the value of jobs vs being productive in society, and explores how our lives might change dramatically if the government takes a proactive approach to compensating for the coming exodus of human jobs with creative financial stimulus programs.

That's just a sample of the artificial intelligence juiciness in this book. A must read for futurists & early technology adopters.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Good but a little slanted

The author does a great job of outlining the pros and the cons of the effects of the future of AI. The effects on the economy and job markets will be more than what we think and it doesn't have to be scenes from the terminator. However, there is a substantial section devoted to some disconnected economic theories that don't belong here. Too many assumptions about what people are and are not willing to do if they didn't work and the alleged value of it.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Misleading title, more about wealth distribution

What would have made Humans Need Not Apply better?

Its not a book about AI, its about the authors ideas about how the super rich should have their wealth distributed. He is right on one respect the influence of AI on the job market will keep shrinking the total number of available jobs, but 90% of this book is his scheme to redistribute the wealth of the super rich.

What could Jerry Kaplan have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Jerry is obviously a smart guy, and he sees the changes that are inevitably coming to how people get employed, but it's a totally misleading title. The book is almost all about his scheme to redistribute the wealth of the super rich who are implementing this AI to build the wealth, then strategies for dealing with it on a personal scale. I don't think his ideas are totally wrong, but I don't think he gives you any good ideas on how to deal with it on a personal level.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Narrator was good, I really enjoy the narrator but the content just made me really upset for purchasing this book

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

if you managed to listen carefully enough past the income distribution scheme that Jerry is pontificating about, I think Jerry accurately describes what will happen to the jobs of most unskilled and a lot of skilled labor.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Liked it

It may be a little bit shorter ( 2 - 3 chapters in the end may be shorter), but the information and vision provided is broad, and cover a lot of specialization in industry and life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant and insightful

I have thought about this topic for many years and this made me a little more optimistic about the future but still leaves me wondering about the transition.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Lots of good ideas in this book

Lots and lots of broad trends identified. My only wish is it to be longer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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superb narration and awesome clarity .

Jerry challenges current thinking and brings in a fresh perspective that's worth debating. humankind must answer key sociological impacts imposed by the ongoing innovation in AI.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Promising start but devolves into ramblings at the end

This book attempts to tackle a very important issue that the society will likely face in the next few generations.

The start is very interesting, the explanation of how markets work and a behind the scenes tour of the online advertising business are great. It’s all downhill afterwards, the story and examples in the last couple of chapters devolves in ramblings. Synthetic intellect would undoubtedly do a better job of the ending in the future.

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Title Should be "Boogy Man a Comin'"

Couple salient points and does bring up some issues to consider. I bought a hard copy for citation reference in my real AI research. However, few of the interesting elements are part of the central narrative. From chapter 8 on this is mainly a marketing pitch for income redistribution. Ironically, the author attributes negative consequences to machine behavior that he then advocates for as a human response (i.e., social behavioral engineering through political policy). Some projections have already faltered, so some of this opinion piece has become dated.

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Surprisingly Stimulating

I started this book with an open mind and no particular interest in artificial intelligence or anything tech based. But it kept me through every twist and turn in our advancement and left me thinking of what the future could look like. This is more than conspiracy theory, it’s good for thought. Well done.

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  • John Mayhew
  • 06-30-18

The American dream?

Little encouragement here for mankind. ( an oxymoron?) . Once, some of us thought Artificial Intelligence might provide a tool to help us understand how our brains worked. How to understand how we could pick up our glass of beer or notice the glass was getting empty. But now? its "lets make more money" for the few and bugger the rest. I wish I could live long enough to see Kaplan's predictions.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-03-17

Great

Great book and insight into the future world of ai. Worth a listen if you wish to have a view of tomorrow and possible solutions