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Still more Book reviews and recommendations

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It will come to this one day....

Robo sapiens: Evolution of a Species - Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio

Around the world, scientists and engineers are participating in a high-stakes race to build the first intelligent robot. Many robots already exist -- automobile factories are full of them. But the new generation of robots will be something else: smart machines that act like living creatures. When they are brought into existence, science fiction will have become fact.What will happen then? With our prosthetic limbs, titanium hips, and artificial eyes, we are already beginning to resemble our machines. Equally important, our machines are beginning to resemble us. Robots already walk, talk, and dance; they can react to our facial expressions and obey verbal commands. When they take the next step and become fully autonomous, what will they do? Will we be partners or rivals? Could we meld into a single species -- Robo sapiens?In Robo sapiens, Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio present the next generation of intelligent robots and their makers. Accompanying brilliant photographs of more than one hundred robots is an account of the little-known, yet vitally important scientific competition to build an autonomous robot. Containing extensive interviews with robotics pioneers, anecdotal "field notes" with behind-the-scenes information, and easy-to-understand technical data about the machines, Robo sapiens is a field guide to our mechanical future.



Digital People: From Bionic Humans to Androids
- Sidney Perkowitz
Robots, androids, and bionic people pervade popular culture, from classics like Frankenstein and R.U.R. to modern tales such as The Six Million Dollar Man, The Terminator, and A.I.. Our fascination is obvious and the technology is quickly moving from books and films to real life. In a lab at MIT, scientists and technicians have created an artificial being named COG. To watch COG interact with the environment to recognize that this machine has actual body language is to experience a hair-raising, gut-level reaction. Because just as we connect to artificial people in fiction, the merest hint of human-like action or appearance invariably engages us. Digital People examines the ways in which technology is inexorably driving us to a new and different level of humanity. As scientists draw on nanotechnology, molecular biology, artificial intelligence, and materials science, they are learning how to create beings that move, think, and look like people. Others are routinely using sophisticated surgical techniques to implant computer chips and drug-dispensing devices into our bodies, designing fully functional man-made body parts, and linking human brains with computers to make people healthier, smarter, and stronger. In short, we are going beyond what was once only science fiction to create bionic people with fully integrated artificial components and it will not be long before we reach the ultimate goal of constructing a completely synthetic human-like being. It seems quintessentially human to look beyond our natural limitations. Science has long been the lens through which we squint to discern our future. Although we are rightfully fearful about manipulating the boundaries between animate and inanimate, the benefits are too great to ignore. This thoughtful and provocative book shows us just where technology is taking us, in directions both wonderful and terrible, to ponder what it means to be human.
Posted July 20, 2012, 22:16:38 PM Logged
In the world of A.I. it's the thought that counts!
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