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Publisher's Summary

As we approach a great turning point in history when technology is poised to redefine what it means to be human, The Fourth Age offers fascinating insight into AI, robotics, and their extraordinary implications for our species.

In The Fourth Age, Byron Reese makes the case that technology has reshaped humanity just three times in history:

100,000 years ago we harnessed fire, which led to language.

10,000 years ago we developed agriculture, which led to cities and warfare.

5,000 years ago we invented the wheel and writing, which led to the nation state.

We are now on the doorstep of a fourth change brought about by two technologies: AI and robotics. The Fourth Age provides extraordinary background information on how we got to this point and how - rather than what - we should think about the topics we’ll soon all be facing: machine consciousness, automation, employment, creative computers, radical life extension, artificial life, AI ethics, the future of warfare, superintelligence, and the implications of extreme prosperity.

By asking questions like “are you a machine?” and “could a computer feel anything?”, Reese leads you through a discussion along the cutting edge in robotics and AI and provides a framework by which we can all understand, discuss, and act on the issues of the Fourth Age and how they’ll transform humanity.

©2018 Byron Reese. All rights reserved. (P)2018 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Not so good

He barely mentions Ray Kurzweil, that says it all. To me, the most important thing that happens after uploading is merging with the ai and expanding our consciousness, and there is no discussion of that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Big History Story of AI

What did you love best about The Fourth Age?

I am about a 3rd of the way through the book. I really like how the book gives a perspective of big history and tells a 100,000 year history of AI. I have read a number of AI books and this book complements those books very well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Really loved this book

Now that I'm through Fourth Age, I'm sad it's over. The book is a journey through philosophy of mind and human potential. Really enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Your beliefs of AI and society discussed here

Whether you believe that AI is benevolent or malevolent, you're probably wrong. This book provides an introspective framework to expose your biases, challenge your assumptions, and help you understand your current position on AI compared to the positions of other AI luminaries.

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Not much real content and reader is nasal

The book doesn't really give you anything useful. I expected a book more about how the fourth age will shape us and there is some of that, but it's mostly a list of possible opinions for you to make of what you will. For frequent science readers there's nothing new here. Also, the reader's voice is nasal (mine is too btw) and he often doesn't take long enough pauses.

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Stimulating on Several Levels

The book covers a lot of ground, and it should spur further thinking on the topic (artificial intelligence). The narrator's voice lacks the engaging factor, so you attention may drift.

For me, the book was excruciating clueless, which is not the author's fault (entirely), it reflects continued universal human cluelessness, which itself spurred my continued thinking on that dilemma.

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great and unbiasedgreat

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love the optimism about our future!

A book that paints a beautiful picture of our future and demonstrates why it's not just wishful thinking.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul Murphy
  • 05-09-18

One of the best books I've come across.

A real gem. A book not withstanding its subtitle, a book uncovering what it means to be human.Not an easy task to undertake. But a task I would say achieved with conspicuous talent.