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Digital soul : intelligent machines and human values

by Georges, T. M. 1938-

Format: Print Book 2003
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction Q335.G437 2003
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  Q335.G437 2003
Should the day come when intelligent machines not only make computations but also think and experience emotions as humans do, how will we distinguish the "human" from the "machine"? This introduction to artificial intelligence - and to its potentially profound social, moral, and ethical implications - is designed for readers with little or no technical background. In accessible, focused, engaging discussions, physicist and award-winning science writer Thomas Georges explores the fundamental issues: What is consciousness? Can computers be conscious? If machines could think and even feel, would they then be entitled to "human" rights? Will machines and people merge into a biomechanical race? Should we worry that super-intelligent machines might take over the world? Even now we continue to put increasingly sophisticated machines in control of critical aspects of our lives in ways that may hold unforeseen consequences for the human race. Digital Soul challenges all of us, before it's too late, to think carefully and rationally about the kind of world we will want to live in - with intelligent machines ever closer by our sides.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Don't look now, but the computer across the desk may be plotting against its human creators. An accomplished physicist and science writer, Georges invites nonspecialists to join him in pondering a host of urgent questions: What risks do humans run in letting computers revise their own programs in ways we no longer control or even fully understand? How will humans need to revise their moral codes when superintelligent computers develop consciousness and emotions? Will courts need to prosecute humans who pull the plug on a conscious but defiant computer? Georges' speculative questions require readers to suspend long-held assumptions--many enshrined in religious doctrines--about the metaphysical uniqueness of humans as thinking creatures. But traditional understandings of human dignity and autonomy, Georges warns, can only reinforce social inertia, so delaying the honest discussions needed to revise the cultural covenant between science and society in ways that will ensure that technology serves truly humane and democratic ends. A book certain to spark sharp debate. Bryce Christensen"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Can computers think? What does that question mean? What might the answer portend for human values? Georges treats these questions-long mainstays of discussions among mathematicians, computer scientists, cognitive psychologists, ethicists, science fiction writers and philosophers-thoroughly, if derivatively, using illustrations from Star Trek and other popular science fiction books, television shows and movies. The first half of the book examines the idea of machine intelligence, then moves on to consciousness, emotions, neurosis and moral awareness. The conversation draws heavily on popular accounts by computer pioneers Marvin Minsky and Alan Turing, mathematician Roger Penrose and cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter. The second half of the book explores the social implications of computer intelligence, including whether machines will take over the world. Georges, a former research scientist at the National Bureau of Standards and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, bases this part on popular works by astronomer Carl Sagan and biologist Richard Dawkins, and several magazine articles. Essentially a summary of generally believed notions regarding the power of machines, illustrated with pop culture references, the book's strength lies in its blend of comprehensive coverage with straightforward prose. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Artificial intelligence -- Social aspects.
Artificial intelligence -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Publisher Boulder, Colo. :Westview Press,2003
Language English
Description x, 285 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 271-276) and index.
ISBN 0813340578 (alk. paper)
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