- You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from Amazon.ca, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control Hardcover – Jun 2 2015
|New from||Used from|
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Wallach...deliver[s] sobering assessments of today’s engineering culture.... Neither alarmist nor affirmative, [A Dangerous Master] contain[s] urgent, compelling and relevant calls to consciously embed our values in the systems we design, and to critically engage with our choices.”
Hordes of technologies emerge in lockstep with warnings of their risks. Ethicist Wendell Wallach sorts the hysteria from the hazards in this magisterial study.”
This book is a must-read for venture capitalists, investors, asset managers, HFT firms and day traders as well as concerned civic leaders and politicians.”
Hazel Henderson, Seeking Alpha
This appeal for deliberate and thoughtful approaches to humankind’s future will find its audience among those interested in ethics, public policy, and the future of health care.”
[T]his thoughtful polemic convincingly argues that In striving to answer the question can we do this?” too few ask should we do this?”’.... Readers will admire this astute analysis while harboring the uneasy feeling that the barn door seems stuck open.”
A well-mounted argument that deserves wide consideration.”
Wendell Wallach, it seems, is always a few years ahead of the rest of us. In this marvelous book, he takes us to the technological frontier and shows us where, why, and how our most promising technologies could turn on us. Wallach is levelheaded and thoughtful, combining his encyclopedic knowledge of emerging technology with a sense of history and an abiding respect for humanity. A Dangerous Master is fascinating, important, andin defiance of its own gravitya joy to read.”
Joshua Greene, Director, Harvard Moral Cognition Lab and author of Moral Tribes
"This timely book offers a balanced assessment of the upsides and risks of a wide range of fast-developing technologies. It helps us to think more clearly about what the world will be like in 2050, and deserves a wide readership."
Martin Rees, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge, and author of Universe and Just Six Numbers
"When it comes to technology, humanity is playing for supremely high stakesand it's a game we can't walk away from. In his new book A Dangerous Master, Wendell Wallach surveys a wide range of technological risks, and proposes how we humans may evade disaster, leaving the possibility of wondrously good outcomes."
Vernor Vinge, author of A Fire Upon the Deep and Rainbows End
"It is increasingly difficult to weigh the risks associated with new technologies against the benefits they may bring. Experts often disagree, the public is not certain whose views to trust, and politicians and the market take short-term perspectives that may not be best in deciding whether or not to plunge ahead in the face of uncertainty. A Dangerous Master gives us a balanced and timely guide to navigating the troubled waters of decision-making when new technologies appear. Read ityour uncertainty may not diminish but your ability to cope with it will increase."
Arthur Caplan, Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics, New York University Langone Medical Center
Wendell Wallach has done all of us a service. He has alerted us in detail, and provocatively, that there are dangers as well as gains in our national romance with innovative technologies. Like all heated romances, they can be full of drama and distress, but hard to ignore. His account of the troubled technology romance is well told, and it is one we need to hear.”
Daniel Callahan, President Emeritus, The Hastings Center
It would be hard to find a more thoughtful, better prepared guide through the difficult terrain of emerging technologies than Wendell Wallach, as he demonstrates yet again in this comprehensive, erudite, and highly readable book. This is a must read volume for anyone who wants to understand the world we have already created, not to mention the one that is rapidly coming into being as technological evolution, already fast, continues to accelerate.”
Braden Allenby, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Arizona State University
Wendell Wallach’s A Dangerous Master does a masterful job of describing in an accessible but precise manner the emerging technologies that will transform our lives and society while also delving into the profound and fascinating ethical and social implications of these technologies.”
Gary Marchant, Regents’ Professor of Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What is distinctive about “A Dangerous Master” is not only its comprehensive survey of such a vast terrain, but also its critical take on the risks and speculations that surround this topic. On the one hand Wallach does surely want to stress the omnipresent hazards that lurk in every corner of this brave new world. On the other hand he wants to bring our thinking about them down to earth by separating science-fiction-and-film-fueled myth from laboratory fact.
By this means Wallach wants to impress upon us that we humans still can be, and should be, in control. We need not, and should not, surrender to a supposed inevitability of machine dominance, not to mention, transformation of our very nature into something machine-like. No matter how magical the prospect seems to some (I will never forget the moment in one of our meetings when the speaker’s mention of technological magic moved several of us to reach into pocket or purse and hold up our new smartphone for the group’s awed admiration), or dystopian to others, neither the state of the art (and science) nor the inherent complexity of the issues need reduce us to ineffectual indulgence in fantasy or else utter hopelessness.
To this end Wallach highlights the notion of an inflection point, which is a brief interval at the cusp of a new development, in this case technological, where a real opportunity exists for society to assess and affect that development, sometimes even unto halting it in its tracks if it is deemed too dangerous. The book gives a case study of Wallach’s attempt to seize such a moment that now exists for the creation and global dispersal of autonomous weapons. At the same time Wallach does not want society to squelch promising and even essential new technologies due to unwarranted fears.
The book concludes with various practical suggestions for how humanity might try to achieve wise governance of our mechanical creations so that they will remain our “good servants” rather than become our “dangerous masters.”
Author Wallach's first example is that of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Prior to its startup, several knowledgeable scientists warned of the possibility it would create a tiny black hole into which Earth would disappear. Previously physicists working on the Manhattan Project worried that atomic bombs could set off a chain reaction in the earth's atmosphere - ending human life. Wallach's point is not that these predictions did not occur (actually, some scientists warn the LHC disaster may yet occur, but that these risks are appearing in more and more areas of endeavor and that it is also becoming increasingly difficult to objectively evaluate them because of their often probabilistic nature, occurring on the frontiers of science where clear answers are not available, and the invariable self-interests of involved individuals and entities. Potential economic and social order disasters may await in a world in which robots do almost all the work. Recent natural disasters (the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and, a new strain of swine flu in 2009, along with man-made disasters (eg. thalidomide, Vioxx, Chernobyl, Union Carbide's Bhopal leak, the 2010 NYSE 'flash crash,' aerosol spray CFCs, and the growing threat to infrastructure posed by hackers. Geoengineering will become increasingly attractive as Global Warming progresses - and the risk of disastrous unexpected results.
Regulations offer a theoretical defense - but examination quickly exposes that defense as a chimera. Not only for reasons of complexity, unknown interactions, reaching tipping points, and vested interests, but also because of the increasing ease for DIY malefactors to operate and a political environment turning more and more against regulation.
Bottom-Line: 'A Dangerous Master' raises important points and offers credible prior examples. However, the book should have been condensed into an article.
Wendell Wallach has done a most admirable job of mapping the "Here be Dragons" of our future, in this sensitive, scholarly, and most clearly written work of personal commitment, A DANGEROUS MASTER.
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Computers & Technology > History & Culture > Future of Computing
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Sociology > Culture
- Books > Professional & Technical > Engineering > Computer Technology > Robotics & Automation
- Books > Professional & Technical > Engineering > Mechanical > Automation
- Books > Science & Math > Technology > Social Aspects
- Books > Science & Math > Technology > Technology & Society
- Books > Textbooks