Book Review: Are the Androids Dreaming Yet?

Just before Christmas Are the Androids Dreaming Yet? landed on my doorstep.  This book was one of very few that I requested to review as it comes from a former Manchester University Alumni student.  As a former student there myself I thought it would be fascinating to read and I am glad I did. The book has not disappointed me at all.

The author James Tagg cleverly pulls together technology and psychology to help us understand how Artificial Intelligence (AI) has moved on over the years. He goes on to discuss where AI may go in the future.  The book may seem a little daunting if you are completely non technical however it is written to be accessible to everyone. It is refreshing to read a book covering this complex topic in a fun and easy to understand way.

Unlike many non-fiction books that I have read in the past James Tagg keeps this book light hearted and fun relating his theories to real life events and provides insights that are both surprising and delightful.  He has a huge list of acknowledgements and a long bibliography which gives you a great place to look into any of the subjects in this book in more depth. If you are studying AI then this book would be a great addition during reading week as it will make you think and guide you to some of the big names in this field.

I certainly felt that this book made me think more than many and it has once again fired up my interest in the future of technology.  I often wonder when a computer will take over from me and leave me wondering what to do with all my spare time. Right now my children make the answer to that simple. Look after and play with them… but what if a robot could do that too and give them the emotional, physical and psychological support they need better than a parent?

Ibobbinlace also started looking back at history and it is interesting to see patterns emerging between people and technology and people and engineering/ mechanics.  It wasn’t that long ago that lace was made by hand in factories… Then it got automated and machines took over… granted machine lace was never the same as handmade lace but time vs cost it made sense. The art of handmade lace is now something of a hobby rather than a job.  Back when that change happened thousands of jobs were lots and the machines took over. Today the latest evolution is that computers are taking over mak05ing decisions, virtually enabling people and even taking over from them as they are more reliable, precise and in control. So what happens to the people… Well when machines took over people re-skilled and took on jobs to look after the machines aka mechanics and engineers. Now we are at risk of machines looking after machines so mechanics and engineers are at risk as well as those doing any job that a machine could potentially do.  This gives the opportunity for people to start creating a new era of jobs and careers.

What do you see as the jobs and careers of the future?

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