Learn the key ideas of the book by Byron Reese

The Fourth Age

AI and robotics: how much will they influence our future?

In The Fourth Age we are offered an overview of the first three eras of humanity and the technologies that started them. Now we are approaching  a fourth era, marked by artificial intelligence and robotics. Byron Reese takes us on a journey of what our future will be, both as a species and on a technological level. Technology that will soon surround us, forcing us to look at the fears that have haunted our society since the industrial age: will machines take our away work from us? Are machines conscious? Are we machines? What ethics should we follow with regards to AI and robots? This book is a guide to finding a way of thinking that can help us tackle  these questions. 

The Fourth Age
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The author of the book:

Byron Reese is a futurist, an entrepreneur and tech  expert.  He is CEO and editor of the technological research company Gigaom, which helps entrepreneurs understand the implications of new technologies and its impact on society, the media and companies.  He has spent most of his life exploring and studying how humans have interacted with technology throughout history and he has created websites that manage the interactions between technology, science, history and business.


What has changed in 5000 years and what does the future hold for us?

We could say that the distinguishing characteristic of the last century is the enormous number of changes that have taken place, dozens if not hundreds of technological progresses that have revolutionised our lives.  Having said that, in the general span of human history, little has changed over the past five thousand years; we still have mothers, fathers, children, schools, governments, war and peace, in the same way that our ancestors did five millennia ago.  The extraordinary thing of our time is not the change that we have already witnessed, it is the change that is still to come.  There have only been three major technology-driven changes in the entire human history, changes to groups of inter-related technologies that have deeply transformed us, both permanently and biologically; this book is about the fourth.


The key ideas of "The Fourth Age"

What has changed in 5000 years and what does the future hold for us?
The journey to the present: the explosion of technology and the questions that it raises
The two types of artificial intelligence, robots and our fears
Artificial Intelligence gives us the chance to understand who we are
If computers were to become sentient, how would we distinguish ourselves from them?
Using artificial intelligence for a better world
Take-home message

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