Machines for thinking

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots. By John Markoff. Ecco; 400 pages; $26.99. The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World. By Pedro Domingos. Basic Books; 352 pages; $29.99. Allen Lane; £20. Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. By Jerry Kaplan. Yale University Press; 256 pages; $35, £20. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) is quietly everywhere, powering Google’s search engine, Amazon’s recommendations and Facebook’s facial recognition. It is how post offices decipher handwriting and banks read cheques. But several books in recent years have spewed fire and brimstone, claiming that algorithms are poised to obliterate white-collar knowledge-work in the 21st century, just as automation displaced blue-collar manufacturing work…

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