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Rev. ed. of What computers can't do, 1979.
Virtually every manufacturing company has plans for an automated "factory of the future." But Robert J. Thomas argues that smart machines may not hold the key to an industrial renaissance. In this provocative and enlightening book, he takes us inside four successful manufacturing enterprises to reveal the social and political dynamics that are an integral part of new production technology. His interviews with nearly 300 individuals, from top corporate executives to engineers to workers and union representatives, give his study particular credibility and offer surprising insights into the organizational power struggles that determine the form and performance of new technologies. Thomas urges managers not to put blind hopes into smarter machines but to find smarter ways to organize people. As U.S. companies battle for survival in an era of growing global competition, What Machines Can't Do is an invaluable treatise on the ways we organize work. While its call for change is likely to be controversial, it will also attract anyone who wishes to understand the full impact of new technology on jobs, organizations, and the future of the industrial enterprise.
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A guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology and why we should never assume that computers always get it right. In Artificial Unintelligence, Meredith Broussard argues that our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a tremendous amount of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally—hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners—that we have stopped demanding that our technology actually work. Broussard, a software developer and journalist, reminds us that there are fundamental limits to what we can (and should) do with technology. With this book, she offers a guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology—and issues a warning that we should never assume that computers always get things right. Making a case against technochauvinism—the belief that technology is always the solution—Broussard argues that it's just not true that social problems would inevitably retreat before a digitally enabled Utopia. To prove her point, she undertakes a series of adventures in computer programming. She goes for an alarming ride in a driverless car, concluding “the cyborg future is not coming any time soon”; uses artificial intelligence to investigate why students can't pass standardized tests; deploys machine learning to predict which passengers survived the Titanic disaster; and attempts to repair the U.S. campaign finance system by building AI software. If we understand the limits of what we can do with technology, Broussard tells us, we can make better choices about what we should do with it to make the world better for everyone.
Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil examines the next step in the evolutionary process of the union of human and machine. He foresees the dawning of a new civilization where we will be able to transcend our biological skills with the vastly greater capacity, speed and knowledge-sharing abilities of our creations. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped and world hunger and poverty will be solved. There will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. The Singularity is Near offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.
A documentary filmmaker, bringing together Artificial Intelligence experts from around the world, explores the terrifying possibility of catastrophic outcomes once we share the planet with intelligent machines who are smarter and more powerful than we could ever have imagined. 25,000 first printing.

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