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Publisher's 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; and - 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.

©2015 George Zarkadakis (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

simply the most intelligent book on this subject .

could not stop listening....it is better than any college course you could find on the subject.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wide-ranging analysis, all of it fascinating

Any additional comments?

This is the best book I have read on human consciousness. I really appreciated the blend of cultural background with the reporting on scientific research. Especially if you think the Turing Test is all there is to determining artificial intelligence, think again! I learned a lot from this book and enjoyed every bit of it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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As important as Age of Spiritual Machines.

Worth re-reading several times. Zarkadakis makes fundamental questions about AI accessible. Will buy in print.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great subject, but a bit lop sided

What did you like best about In Our Own Image? What did you like least?

An excellent subject not too many have delved into. It is one of very few books which tackles the possibility of AI, which is becoming more probable year by year. A courageous attempt to explain the progression of technology in to what might become an artificial intelligence.

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A

What aspect of Gildart Jackson’s performance would you have changed?

May be a little more of a dramatic voice for a dramatic subject

Did In Our Own Image inspire you to do anything?

Not really a book that inspires, but it is informative.

Any additional comments?

I would have liked the author to spend more time on the affects of a super AI and the existential threat it might have on humanity. I can understand this might mean some guess work, but it goes with the subject.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Covers a Lot of Ground

Good coverage of history and science and technology, but you can throw-out all the philosophizing and prophesying - they reflect the philosophical vapidity and tunnel-vision of the author's generation...

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Great book despite attempts to save physicalism

Otherwise great book but spoiled by futile attempts to save the outdated model of materialism/physicalism. We are now ever closer to shed the centuries-old materialistic paradigm. Recently groups of researchers converge on the notion that consciousness is resolutely computational.Quantum indeterminacy resolves every conscious moment into a subjective digital (discrete) reality. Any kind of information processing is a relativistic concept which is universally applicable and thus idealistic in nature.

Perhaps what would pull the rug from under physicalism is a notion of ever deeper levels of abstraction that only minds can create and perceive. Physicalists might make a concession by saying that information, now widely accepted as fundamental, is physical but idealists would insist by saying that information, conveyed by symbolism, originates only in the mind. Intersubjectivity is particularly a great example of layered abstractions, from memes to social institutions to collective unconscious well beyond materiality.

What's even more indicative that our world is entirely mental rather than physical is that advanced consciousness like augmented humans and Strong AI will generate even deeper levels of abstraction from extradimensionalities to virtualities of our own design. Quantum computers would compute parallel slices of abstraction. And inner space exploration could eclipse outer space exploration (the Transcension Hypothesis). Before long, we'll start to create virtual worlds coming right out of our imagination, instantly “materialized” with a help of AI. Would it be logical to accept that it has already happened in our bidirectionally causal (self-causal, retrocausal) Universe and our human mindspace is but a fractal of the larger cosmic mind? All mass-energy, space-time itself emerge from consciousness. Matter is an epiphenomenon of consciousness.. Period. As Arthur Eddington once put it, the stuff of the Universe is mind-stuff. Also, speaking of levels of abstraction consider that what we perceive as physical well may be imaginary in the minds of inhabitants of parallel Earth where events turn out slightly different from ours, hinting once again that everything is made of information and ultimately is but a mental construct.

Could artificially intelligent agents ever possess genuine consciousness? “Artificial Consciousness", or machine consciousness, is a kind of oxymoron. Our entire Universe is a multi-scale conscious superorganism. Everything is in consciousness. We swim in this ocean of consciousness completely oblivious of the medium. So the question: could be answered unequivocally - it's just a matter of time as long as we make progress in the field (and we do accelerating exponentially!) But not the way most people and even AI researchers envision.

For AI to "wake up" we first need to emerge as the fully functional Global Brain (see #SyntellectEmergence) where enhanced humans with cloud-connected exocortices act as "natural" human concept neurons of the GB and embodied AGIs would act as "artificial" concept neurons by sharing the same mindspace with humans, learning from this global neural network and ultimately, "hosting" advanced consciousness that should be expected substantially different than that of an ordinary human. The cybernetic approach seems to be a valid one: let the ever-increasing complexity and hyperconnectivity of the GB evolve until global consciousness emerges and redistributes itself into semi-autonomous conscious AI entities.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Everything is What WE make it

As a science lover, deeply interested in the human condition, this book was perfect for me. Zarkadakis has a psychologists knack for analyzing the human thought process, coupled with a computer scientist's gift for logic. This book convinced me that artificial intelligence is both inevitable because of human's endless desire to create, and impossible because of our human inability to recognize anything as our equal. It does an excellent job of providing answers to questions you may have while still leaving you with infinitely more to ponder. Definitely worth a listen.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • 05-22-16

Irrelevant Philosophical Ramblings and Tangents

Any additional comments?

Author spends too much time discussing mankind's philosophical motivations for creating A.I. The question "Why do humans want to develop AI?" shouldn't take hours to discuss. I initially thought that these philosophical ramblings were just an extended intro to the topic of A.I. So I kept listening to this book for hours, anticipating that the opinionated philosophical claims and tangentially related scientific discussions (i.e evolution) would finally come to a halt, but it didn't... even after 4+ hours of listening!

0 of 5 people found this review helpful