Humans Need Not Apply

It isn’t ‘science fiction’ anymore. . .

Review by Grady Harp

Author Jerry Kaplan gained international recognition with his book “Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure” and is now a well-traveled speaker and futurist as well as a serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, co-founder of four Silicon Valley startups, two of which became publicly traded companies. He is currently a Fellow at The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. He also teaches Philosophy, Ethics, and Impact of Artificial Intelligence in the Computer Science Department, Stanford University. He holds a BA (1972) from the University of Chicago in History and Philosophy of Science, and an MSE (1975) and PhD (1979) in Computer and Information Science, specializing in Artificial Intelligence and Computational Linguistics, from the University of Pennsylvania. He invented The Synergy (first all-digital keyboard instrument); Lotus Agenda (first personal Information manager); PenPoint (tablet operating system used in the first smartphone, AT&T’s EO 440); the GO computer (first tablet computer) and Straight Talk (Symantec Corporation’s first natural language query system). He is also co-inventor of the online auction (patents now owned by eBay) and is named on 12 U.S. patents.

Films about Artificial Intelligence have been flooding the market of late – ‘A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, LUCY, EX MACHINA, TRANSCENDENCE, CHAPPIE, THE INVISIBLE BOY, AUTOMATA, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, TIME MACHINE etc etc etc and still the majority of people think these films are sci-fi fantasies. Well, Jerry Kaplan brings it home to roost in this timely and absorbing book that updates the world on just how far we have taken these crazy ideas and how they are affecting out present and future society. And it isn’t pretty. As a matter of fact it is frightening when we see the very present robots in action, drones delivering goods, driverless cars, robotic surgery which is now the norm (surgery done far from the patient from a desk via a television screen where sits a surgeon making directions for movements of steel instruments inside the human body), and on and on. In other words we are there, and what Kaplan is showing us that by creating AI machines to do the work humans used to do the disparity between the wealthy and the growing in numbers unemployed and barely existing beings is growing. He proposes innovative, free-market adjustments to our economic system and social policies to avoid an extended period of social turmoil.

Books that prove to be wakeup calls are all too rare and it takes courage to print them. Read this book and be aware. Otherwise we are like ostriches with out heads in the sand.

TITLE: HUMANS NEED NOT APPLY: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
AUTHOR: Jerry Kaplan
PUBLIHSER: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300213553

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