The Age of Intelligent Machines

September 8, 2009
author |
Ray Kurzweil
year published |

Amazon | In a work the Association of American Publishers named the Most Outstanding Computer Science Book of 1990, Kurzweil and 23 other contributors explore the history and potential of artificial intelligence. What is artificial intelligence? At its essence, it is another way of answering a central question that has been debated by scientists, philosophers, and theologians for thousands of years: How does the human brain — three pounds of ordinary matter — give rise to thought? With this question in mind, inventor and visionary computer scientist Raymond Kurzweil probes the past, present, and future of artificial intelligence, from its earliest philosophical and mathematical roots through today’s moving frontier, to tantalizing glimpses of 21st-century machines with superior intelligence and truly prodigious speed and memory.

Lavishly illustrated and easily accessible to the nonspecialist, The Age of Intelligent Machines provides the background needed for a full understanding of the enormous scientific potential represented by intelligent machines and of their equally profound philosophic, economic, and social implications. It examines the history of efforts to understand human intelligence and to emulate it by building devices that seem to act with human capabilities.

In a sweeping approach reflective of his intimate knowledge of the subject, Kurzweil systematically builds on the great landmarks of human intellect. He weaves together the singular achievements of such major thinkers as Plato, Euclid, Newton, Babbage, Einstein, von Neumann, and Wittgenstein to provide an orderly and comprehensive understanding of the impact intelligent machines will have on the world as it enters the third millenium.

Running alongside Kurzweil’s historical and scientific narrative, are 23 articles examining contemporary issues in artificial intelligence by such luminaries as Daniel Dennett, Sherry Turkle, Douglas Hofstadter, Marvin Minsky, Seymour Papert, Edward Feigenbaum, Allen Newell, and George Gilder.