Most Recently Added Most commentedBy Title | Z-A

Bots gone wild

November 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

ant-roach

Introducing random — a new, occasional blog category for stuff that’s way too weird for our regular weird posts. Like these wacky robot stories:

Wanna take a ride on a 15-foot-long inflatable walking robot named Ant-Roach (as in anteater-cockroach)? Um, maybe not, but hey, “human safe” bots are not a bad idea, especially if you plan to have one in your home, with kids. A future Disney… read more

book review | William Hertling’s Singularity series continues with The Last Firewall

September 12, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

hertling_last_firewall

William Hertling’s science-fiction collection of Singularity novels about the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) consists (so far) of Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears, A.I. Apocalypse, and the recently published The Last Firewall.

I think The Last Firewall is the best of the lot: a fast techno-thriller set in a hybrid human/AI world with social tension and dominance conflicts, in where… read more

book review | The Transhumanist Wager

May 15, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

The Transhumanist Wager

Zoltan Istvan’s The Transhumanist Wager is an epic story of radical libertarian ideas, their enemies, and the violent global conflict that ensues, painted in strong saturated colors with little room for intermediate shades and character development.

After reading cover to cover, and then reading it more carefully, I have mixed love/hate feelings about this novel.

It’s a page turner. Istvan — a former journalist… read more

book review | The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates

August 14, 2012 by Giulio Prisco

The God Problem

Howard Bloom‘s forthcoming book The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates, is arguably his best book so far, a page-turner with deep thoughts and entertaining bits on every page.

Is The God Problem a book on the history of science? No, more like a philosophical novel. Wait, perhaps an autobiography? Pop culture?

All of the above, and none. The God Problem defies categorization; it’s a cascade… read more

book review | Technology’s Promise: Expert Knowledge on the Transformation of Business and Society

January 28, 2010

Author: William Halal
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN-10: 0230019544
ISBN-13: 9780230019546
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages

Technology’s Promise: Expert Knowledge on the Transformation of Business and Societybrilliantly deals with the co-evolution of technology, business and society. It is a concise but complete “history of the future,” covering most scientific and technological fields, with specific scenarios until 2050 and with general ideas for the future of humanity.… read more

book review | Science fiction bots becoming fact

March 3, 2011 by R.U. Sirius

We, Robot book cover

An interview with Mark Stephen Meadows, author of We, Robot: Skywalker’s Hand, Blade Runners, Iron Man, Slutbots, and How Fiction Became Fact.

 With We, Robot (Lyons Press, 2010), Mark Stephen Meadows explores the recent edges of robotic development in the context of some of our favorite fictional narratives.

It’s a smart, edgy read, written in a very hip, almost cyberpunk style (for one example, the author describes himself

read more

book review | Ray Kurzweil’s read on latest AI insights in the book Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us

October 31, 2002 by Ray Kurzweil

This review was originally published in Wired, “Peer Review,” in October 2002.

As one of the world’s leading roboticists, Rodney Brooks (Director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Chairman of the successful iRobot Corporation) is also the consummate teacher.

He has a penchant for clear explanation and in his latest book, Flesh and Machines, How Robots Will Change Us, Brooks lucidly explores a wide range of themes related to his life with robots.

These range from personal anecdotes (e.g., his first encounter with another legendary robot builder, Hans Moravec, who was then living in his Stanford laboratory and musing about exotic topics ranging from sky hooks to tree-like robots), historical vignettes (e.g., Marvin Minsky’s unsuccessful attempt to solve the computer “vision” problem in a single Summer in 1966), algorithmic insights (e.g., how his Genghis robot achieved “animal-like behavior” from a few dozen simple programs operating in parallel), philosophical musings (e.g., what is the true nature of consciousness, “apart from our own personal experience of what it is like to be us?”), and ethical dilemmas (e.g., when will we need to stop treating robots like slaves).

The book ranges far and wide, but maintains a unity around the author’s passion for creating what he calls “situated creatures,” which we can eventually regard as our teachers and companions.… read more

book review | Dan Brown’s Inferno

May 31, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

Inferno

Dan Brown’s latest action thriller Inferno follows art historian Robert Langdon in a fast-paced roller-coaster hunt for the source of a genetic hack delivered to everyone on the planet via a highly contagious airborne virus.

As in previous novels, Langdon works against the clock to decipher hints hidden in the treasures of the world’s art and literature, fighting intrigue and deception.

I… read more

book review | Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge

August 8, 2008

year-million

Source: Nature — August 7, 2008

In Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge (edited by Damien Broderick, Atlas, 2008), 15 futurists explore long-range posthuman extraterrestrial futures.

One thread in the book is launch of an expanding wavefront of intelligence, converting matter into nano-engineered computronium that is then assembled into M-brains. These then send out seeds that encode the ability to bootstrap new nano-manufacturing capacity on suitable worlds, where minds… read more

book review | Whole Earth Discipline

September 23, 2009

whole earth discipline

Source: Wired — Sep 21, 2009 | Douglas McGray

“Stewart Brand: Save the Slums” | In his new book Whole Earth Discipline, Stewart Brand defends genetic engineering, nuclear power, and other longtime nemeses of the green left as good for the planet.

Some people see a squatter city in Nigeria or India and the desperation overwhelms them: rickety shelters, little kids working or begging, filthy water and air. Stewart Brand sees the same places and he’s encouraged.… read more

BOOK REVIEW | Warped Passages

October 24, 2005

warped_passages

Source: New York Times — Oct 23, 2005

In a new book, Warped Passages, Lisa Randall gives an engaging and remarkably clear account of how the existence of dimensions beyond the familiar three may resolve a host of cosmic quandaries.

Randall argues that without any experimental feedback, string theorists may never reach their goal. She prefers a different strategy, called model building. Rather than seeking to create an all-encompassing theory, she develops models — mini-theories that… read more

book review | The Hidden Brain

January 18, 2010

hidden brain

Source: The New York Times — January 14, 2010 | Susan Pinker

In The Hidden Brain, writer Shankar Vedantam explores the unconscious mind, focusing on covert influences on human behavior. Invisible forces that control our behavior have inspired our best story­tellers, from Euripides to Steven Spielberg. Whether we’re yanked around by jealous gods, Oedipal urges or poltergeists, the idea that we feel powerless to direct our own actions has… read more

book review | The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism

November 23, 2009 by Amara D. Angelica

genius of the beast

Multidisciplinary scientist Howard Bloom’s visionary new book, The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism, to be published Tuesday, is an iconoclastic, big-picture view of the transformation of mankind by its machinery.

It rewrites the history of the West, connecting science, technology, emotions, business and society, and proposes a next-generation of capitalism for western civilization — an evolutionary imperative that he suggests can lift us from… read more

book review | The Department of Mad Scientists

January 14, 2010

The Department of Mad Scientists

Source: The New York Times — December 24, 2009 | William Saletan

“The Body Electric” | Two years ago, in his book Rocketeers, Michael Belfiore celebrated the pioneers of the budding private space industry. Now he has returned to explore a frontier closer to home. The heroes of his new book, The Department of Mad Scientists, work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, a secretive arm of… read more

BOOK REVIEW | The Cosmic Landscape

March 12, 2006

cosmic_landscape

Source: Fourmilog: None Dare Call It Reason — March 12, 2006

Leonard Susskind’s new book, The Cosmic Landscape, pits intelligent design against string theory and the megaverse.

Surprisingly, Autodesk founder John Walker sides with intelligent design, but not by a deity — by post-Singularity intelligences creating a reality simulation: “What would we expect to see if we inhabited a simulation? Well, there would probably be a discrete time step and granularity in position fixed by the time and position… read more

close and return to Home