Rise of the Robots [Book Reviews]

Created by W.Langdon from gp-bibliography.bib Revision:1.3872

@Article{Stayton:2016:ieeeTechSoc,
  author =       "E. Stayton",
  journal =      "IEEE Technology and Society Magazine",
  title =        "Rise of the Robots [Book Reviews]",
  year =         "2016",
  volume =       "35",
  number =       "2",
  pages =        "18--20",
  abstract =     "The book is laudable as a trade book about emerging
                 technologies. It presents a broad, sweeping overview of
                 the issues at hand for the modern labourer in the
                 increasingly automated economy. From manufacturing to
                 the service sector, from elder care to intelligent
                 tutoring, myriad applications of artificial
                 intelligence are addressed - enough that, if one
                 accepts the author's claims about the impacts of
                 increasing automation, there is no conceivable
                 alternate economic sector in which those job losses can
                 be offset. This multiple-industry focus distinguishes
                 his book from those focused specifically on
                 manufacturing or commercial robotics, and aligns it
                 more closely with contemporary works like Brynjolfsson
                 and McAffee's Second Machine Age, though the author is
                 ultimately less optimistic about the future. Also key
                 to this work's approach, the author fuses the
                 technical, including approachable descriptions of
                 technologies like artificial neural networks and
                 genetic programming, with economic and political
                 information and critique. The book uses descriptions of
                 advancing AI technology to set up its punchline: the
                 economy must be restructured to avoid total collapse.
                 To this end, the author provides a number of insightful
                 and productive re-framings of salient economic issues.
                 Off-shoring becomes virtual immigration, since remote
                 workers profit from the economy and the infrastructure
                 of a nation without directly contributing to its
                 economy. Similarly, the author asks if decades of
                 public investment in information technology (via DARPA,
                 NSF, and other organizations) should give citizens a
                 claim on the ownership of society's accumulated
                 technological capital that is otherwise at risk of
                 being captured by a small, elite minority. The economy,
                 according to the author, can be likewise reinterpreted
                 as a resource in which all citizens have a stake, and
                 therefore can be used to rationalize a guaranteed
                 minimum income. Overall, the- book is well-constructed,
                 aimed at a popular audience that knows little about the
                 underlying automation technologies or the social and
                 economic realities of competing with automation. For a
                 technologist, the coverage of the robots themselves is
                 not particularly novel or insightful beyond what a
                 consistent reader of Wired, Technology Review, and
                 other technology-focused publications would already be
                 familiar with. And for someone who attends to debates
                 in contemporary economics or public policy, much of the
                 economic and policy information is unlikely to be
                 ground breaking. But while little of Ford's book is on
                 the cutting edge of any one sub-field, Rise of the
                 Robots is a competent, approachable, and a well-written
                 synthesis of information across many areas, and
                 provides a valuable, coherent picture of automation's
                 socio-economic interact ions.",
  keywords =     "genetic algorithms, genetic programming, Automation,
                 Human factors, Manufacturing processes, Production
                 engineering, Robots, Technology",
  DOI =          "doi:10.1109/MTS.2016.2554705",
  ISSN =         "0278-0097",
  month =        jun,
  notes =        "Also known as \cite{7484828}",
}

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