Robotics: Countering singularity sensationalism

John Markoff Ecco 2015. ISBN: 9780062266682 Buy this book: US| UK| Japan Martin Ford Basic 2015. ISBN: 9780465059997 Buy this book: US| UK| Japan David A. Mindell Viking 2015. ISBN: 9780525426974 Buy this book: US| UK| Japan In the late nineteenth century, the United States was awash with the racist term ‘yellow peril’. Fears spread that Chinese immigrants working in the country’s mines and building its railways would seize more jobs from the citizenry. Today, there is a similar collective fear, this time about a ‘singularity’ in which artificial intelligence (AI) and robots surpass human abilities. In May 2014, for instance, physicists Stephen Hawking, Frank Wilczek and Max Tegmark, with computer scientist Stuart Russell, warned in the newspaper The Independent: “Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in…

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