Review – The Technological Singularity

Posted October 19, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of The Technological Singularity by Murray ShanahanThe Technological Singularity, Murray Shanahan

It seems odd to me that Shanahan says that science fiction doesn’t examine the issues of the singularity deeply, and yet I feel that several spec-fic books have done so much more than this non-fiction book. He does as much work in imagining, glancing at the possibilities for general AI and what they might mean, and though he tries to discuss them intellectually, I feel that other authors writing fiction have made me engage much more with the issues.

It’s informative enough, but I found it relatively simplistic: it stuck as closely as possible to what can be imagined using our modern technology, which I think is kind of not the point of the whole singularity idea, which should be an advance that leaves behind humans as we currently are. I think it might better be explored in fiction; at least then, it can give us an illusion of otherness, which is undermined by the matter of fact discussions of how something could come about.

If you’re interested in AI, but know basically nothing, this is a decent primer. If you’re a science fiction fan, stick to novels: they’re more imaginative and more interesting, and I say that as someone who does enjoy non-fiction a lot. If you’re curious based on the title, why not? But if you’re looking for something in depth and philosophical, no, this holds nothing new.

Rating: 2/5

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