Award-winning journalist David Ewing Duncan considers 24 visions of possible human-robot futures—Incredible scenarios from Teddy Bots to Warrior Bots, and Politician Bots to Sex Bots—Grounded in real technologies and possibilities and inspired by our imagination.
The result of this hybrid reporting/fantasizing process is intensely readable, downright terrifying, and surprisingly uplifting ... For a good time, read 'Coffee Delivery Bot'. For a good cry, try 'Memory Bot' or 'Teddy Bot'. If you want to never sleep again, 'Warrior Bot' is for you ... What could have been a dense read, thick with jargon and complex concepts, is surprisingly playful and tender. It’s also uniquely creative.
... if you want to see what that future might look like, Duncan's book is a fun place to start ... The use of real world (or ERE) experts pays off when it delivers surprising visions of our robot future ... The best part of Talking to Robots is it does not take itself too seriously ... Unfortunately, Duncan's central conceit — that these chapters are a history written from far in the future — often fails him. The structural demands of keeping the viewpoint anchored in the future while using interviews with experts alive today proves to be too much in many of the chapters, and the 'future history' enterprise just collapses on itself. Other times, the research for the book seems a glib ... But taken as a whole, Duncan's book holds a lot of pleasures. It's funny and broad and, in its way, asks important questions.
A refreshing variation on the will-intelligent-robots-bring-Armageddon genre ... Despite its terrible record, predicting the future exerts an endless fascination, and this colorful mixture of expert futurology and quirky speculation does not disappoint.