Thursday, July 26, 2007

Beyond A.I. -- Creating the Conscience of the Machine

Beyond A.I. -- Creating the Conscience of the Machine. Caption: 408 pages, ISBN 978-1-59102-511-5, Hardcover $28, Publication May 2007, Credit: Prometheus Books, Usage Restrictions: None.J. Storrs Hall investigates the future implications for artificial intelligence

Known as the originator of the Utility Fog concept, Dr. J. Storrs Hall is regarded as one of the most significant thinkers in the field of molecular nanotechnology. In his new book Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine (Prometheus Books, $28), Hall explores how artificial intelligence (AI) is now advancing at such a rapid clip that it has the potential to transform our world in ways both exciting and disturbing.
Computers have already been designed that are capable of driving cars, playing soccer, and finding and organizing information on the Web in ways that no human could. With each new gain in processing power, will scientists soon be able to create supercomputers that can read a newspaper with understanding, or write a news story, or create novels, or even formulate laws" And if machine intelligence advances beyond human intelligence, will we need to start talking about a computer’s intentions"

These are some of the questions discussed by computer scientist J. Storrs Hall in this fascinating layperson’s guide to the latest developments in artificial intelligence. Drawing on a thirty-year career in artificial intelligence and computer science, Hall reviews the history of AI, discussing some of the major roadblocks that the field has recently overcome, and predicting the probable achievements in the near future. There is new excitement in the field over the amazing capabilities of the latest robots and renewed optimism that achieving human-level intelligence is a reachable goal.

But what will this mean for society and the relations between technology and human beings" Soon ethical concerns will arise and programmers will need to begin thinking about the computer counterparts of moral codes and how ethical interactions between humans and their machines will eventually affect society as a whole.

According to Dr. Fritz Allhoff, a philosophy professor at Western Michigan University, Dr. Hall combines a strong background in science with a cognizance of its deeper social and ethical issues to present a timely presentation of the past, present and future of artificial intelligence. Dr. Patrick Lin, director of The Nanoethics Group, says, “Hall masterfully traces the history of AI in terms easy to understand for the layperson and sophisticated enough to offer new insights for experts.”

Weaving disparate threads together in an enlightening manner from cybernetics, computer science, psychology, philosophy of mind, neurophysiology, game theory, and economics, Hall provides an intriguing glimpse into the astonishing possibilities and dilemmas on the horizon. ###

J. Storrs Hall, PhD (Laporte, PA), the founding chief scientist of Nanorex, Inc., is a research fellow for the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing and the author of Nanofuture, the “Nanotechnologies” section for The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy, and numerous scientific articles. He has designed technology for NASA and was a computer systems architect at the Laboratory for Computer Science Research at Rutgers University from 1985 to 1997.
Contact: Lynn Pasquale 800-853-7545 Prometheus Books

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