As we approach a great turning point in history when technology is poised to redefine what it means to be human, Byron Reese’ book “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity” offers fascinating insight into AI, robotics, and their extraordinary implications for our species. In The Fourth Age, Byron Reese makes the case that technology has reshaped humanity just three times in history: – 100,000 years ago, we harnessed fire, which led to language. – 10,000 years ago, we developed agriculture, which led to cities and warfare. – 5,000 years ago, we invented the wheel and writing, which lead to the nation state.
We are now on the doorstep of a fourth change brought about by two technologies: AI and robotics. The Fourth Age provides extraordinary background information on how we got to this point, and how—rather than what—we should think about the topics we’ll soon all be facing: machine consciousness, automation, employment, creative computers, radical life extension, artificial life, AI ethics, the future of warfare, super-intelligence, and the implications of extreme prosperity.
By asking questions like “Are you a machine?” and “Could a computer feel anything?” Reese leads readers through a discussion along the cutting edge in robotics and AI, and provides a framework by which we can all understand, discuss, and act on the issues of the Fourth Age, and their transformative effects on humanity.