Rapture for the Geeks: When AI Outsmarts IQ Hardcover – Sep 30 2008
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Praise for Richard Dooling:
Rapture for the Geeks
“Nimble and entertaining . . . A fascinating historical review of our longtime obsession with machines.”
—David Takami, Seattle Times
“Surprisingly engrossing, quick-witted.”
—New York Observer
“One doesn’t expect a nonfiction book to be fascinating, chilling, thoughtful, and funny in equal measure. This one is. My question: When computers become smarter than humans, and especially if they take over, will they regard Rick Dooling as dangerous, prescient, sympathetic . . . or irrelevant?”
“Dooling really is onto something here.”–Ars Technica
Bet Your Life
“Manages to invoke Double Indemnity, the Old Testament, and Fountains of Wayne with equal vehemence and thriller wit. . . . If you’re not hooked, you’re one dead mackerel.”
“Fascinating . . . A socially relevant satire [that’s] midway between John Grisham and Carl Hiaasen.”
—The New Yorker
“Brainstorm is simply brilliant—hilarious, thought-provoking, and masterfully crafted. The characters are fantastic and irresistible but completely believable, and their banter is so witty and natural that a reader can forget they are debating ideas at the cutting edge of brain science and philosophy.”
—Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works
“Exuberant . . . deeply pleasurable . . . Here is a whodunit that achieves a comic fugue-state mastery of the language of our sexually charged, violent, technocratic society.”
—Colin Harrison, New York Times Book Review
Blue Streak: Swearing, Free Speech and Sexual Harassment
“A charmingly impudent essay on language and sexual politics . . . an extremely clever and creative sort of literary acting out.”
—Richard Bernstein, New York Times
White Man’s Grave
“A bravura display of satire . . . Dooling evokes the humane checks and balances of a deep world: the logic, you might say, of its magic.”
—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times Book Review
About the Author
RICHARD DOOLING is a novelist, screenwriter, and lawyer, a visiting professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. He is the author of Critical Care, Brainstorm, Bet Your Life, and the novel White Man’s Grave, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife, children, and computers.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I loved this book. But I realize that I am a quirky guy who happens to be fascinated by theoretical science, and who is already fairly well-read about the singularity concept. For me, the book was an entertaining opinion-piece in which Dooling takes the reader on a tour of singularity's main ideas, while making sure to keep the reader entertained the whole way. He touches all the bases from Moore's Law to basic programming concepts (and hits on most of my favorite topics including consciousness, free will, and memes), and he gives the reader a glimpse at the contributions and opinions of all the key personalities from Ray Kurzweil to Bill Joy. Rather than being in depth and technical, the book presents the ideas in an everyman style, and Dooling provides enough specific links and references to point anyone interested in learning more about specific technical topics in the right direction.
In my opinion, Dooling also makes some noteworthy contributions in the form of opinions and hypothetical scenarios. I've spent considerable time reading about artificial intelligence, and Dooling came up with quite a few interesting twists to the usual analysis that were new to me! As long as you have sufficient background knowledge, you will be able to tell when Dooling gets into opinion/speculation mode, and you should take it as such. For example, I personally disagree with his idea that singularity might be just another form of religion, but I am glad to have been exposed to the interesting idea. Bottom line: it is a book of ideas and hypotheticals, not a book about technical information. And I think it's filled with some superb ideas!
In all a decent intro to the subject though, at least I know what books I want to read now.
Prior to reading this book, I'd read the wikipedia article discussing the Technological Singularity. It offered a much more concise and technically insightful discussion of this material. I wish I'd saved my money and time, and stopped there, and spent my time reading in-flight magazines instead of trying to get value from this book.
I don't think Richard Dooling hates technology at all, at all, as the Irish say, but he sees not just the bright side of the 21st Century, and it is of course, the dark side that we must anticipate. The book isn't perfect. From page 216 to 235 it is mostly about God, religion, atheists and what the super-computers of the future will think about those subjects and do about them. He has serious moments here, and parody sections, and perhaps goes on too long in this vein, although in my opinion, he comes out on the right side of things. All in all, I thank my friend Jim Clark of Kansas for sending this one to me, but I believe it is very worth reading, even for technophobes like me, and even if I had paid for it. Can there be higher praise for a writer than that?