Hot Best Seller

The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals about Our Future with Robots

Availability: Ready to download

For readers of The Second Machine Age or The Soul of an Octopus, a bold, exciting exploration of how building diverse kinds of relationships with robots--inspired by how we interact with animals--could be the key to making our future with robotic technology work. There has been a lot of ink devoted to discussions of how robots will replace us and take our jobs. But MIT Medi For readers of The Second Machine Age or The Soul of an Octopus, a bold, exciting exploration of how building diverse kinds of relationships with robots--inspired by how we interact with animals--could be the key to making our future with robotic technology work. There has been a lot of ink devoted to discussions of how robots will replace us and take our jobs. But MIT Media Lab researcher and technology policy expert Kate Darling argues just the opposite, and that treating robots with a bit of humanity, more like the way we treat animals, will actually serve us better. From a social, legal, and ethical perspective, she shows that our current ways of thinking don't leave room for the robot technology that is soon to become part of our everyday routines. Robots are likely to supplement--rather than replace--our own skills and relationships. So if we consider our history of incorporating animals into our work, transportation, military, and even families, we actually have a solid basis for how to contend with this future. A deeply original analysis of our technological future and the ethical dilemmas that await us, The New Breed explains how the treatment of machines can reveal a new understanding of our own history, our own systems and how we relate--not just to non-humans, but also to each other.


Compare

For readers of The Second Machine Age or The Soul of an Octopus, a bold, exciting exploration of how building diverse kinds of relationships with robots--inspired by how we interact with animals--could be the key to making our future with robotic technology work. There has been a lot of ink devoted to discussions of how robots will replace us and take our jobs. But MIT Medi For readers of The Second Machine Age or The Soul of an Octopus, a bold, exciting exploration of how building diverse kinds of relationships with robots--inspired by how we interact with animals--could be the key to making our future with robotic technology work. There has been a lot of ink devoted to discussions of how robots will replace us and take our jobs. But MIT Media Lab researcher and technology policy expert Kate Darling argues just the opposite, and that treating robots with a bit of humanity, more like the way we treat animals, will actually serve us better. From a social, legal, and ethical perspective, she shows that our current ways of thinking don't leave room for the robot technology that is soon to become part of our everyday routines. Robots are likely to supplement--rather than replace--our own skills and relationships. So if we consider our history of incorporating animals into our work, transportation, military, and even families, we actually have a solid basis for how to contend with this future. A deeply original analysis of our technological future and the ethical dilemmas that await us, The New Breed explains how the treatment of machines can reveal a new understanding of our own history, our own systems and how we relate--not just to non-humans, but also to each other.

30 review for The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals about Our Future with Robots

  1. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    I'm conflicted about this book. On the one hand it has a very interesting thesis (and a way of thinking of robot human relations that I hadn't considered before). It's also full of lots of interesting examples, anecdotes, and histories of animals in human society. But for some reason it wasn't that great a read. It felt disjointed and jumpy, as if the author was going from one cool set of stories to another, and I didn't catch much of a unifying cohesion or through line to her story. In the end I'm conflicted about this book. On the one hand it has a very interesting thesis (and a way of thinking of robot human relations that I hadn't considered before). It's also full of lots of interesting examples, anecdotes, and histories of animals in human society. But for some reason it wasn't that great a read. It felt disjointed and jumpy, as if the author was going from one cool set of stories to another, and I didn't catch much of a unifying cohesion or through line to her story. In the end I appreciate it for the stories and a new way of thinking, but I feel like it could have been better than it was. **Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jolanta (knygupe)

    3,5* [...] 'we need to move beyond the idea that robots are here to replace humans and understand that our past, current, and future relationships are more complex than that. Yes, having robots may bridge a need for connection in cases where other connections aren't possible. But the most likely and ideal case, just like we're seen with our pets, is that robots will become a new type of relationship altogether.' Ši knyga - apie robotus/dirbtinį intelektą (DI), apie mūsų ryšius su jais, tame tarpe 3,5* [...] 'we need to move beyond the idea that robots are here to replace humans and understand that our past, current, and future relationships are more complex than that. Yes, having robots may bridge a need for connection in cases where other connections aren't possible. But the most likely and ideal case, just like we're seen with our pets, is that robots will become a new type of relationship altogether.' Ši knyga - apie robotus/dirbtinį intelektą (DI), apie mūsų ryšius su jais, tame tarpe ir emocinius. Įdoms rakursas - robotų lyginimas su mūsų prijaukintais gyvūnais - naudai, pramogai, komfortui. Šiuos ryšius autorė apžvelgia istoriškai, analizuoja, lygina juos su robotais ir DI. Knygoje šiai naujai neorganiniai rūšiai autorė ir advokatauja. Ji dirba MIT Media laboratorijoje, kur fokusuojasi į robotų etiką. Štai prašau jums ir Azimovas. Man labai patiko Kate Darling įžvalgos apie mūsų psichologiją auginamų namuose gyvūnų atžvilgiu ir besimezgančius ryšius su robotais. Jos laboratorijoje daryti eksperimentai su robotukais-dinozaurais - labai iškalbingi. Niekam nekilo ranka mušti (buvo duota tokia užduotis) neseniai vaikštinėjusio ir mielus garsus leidusio gyvio. Ačiūdiev, vis garsiau kalbama apie gyvūnų teisę. Turėkim omeny, kad ateityje bus ir DI teisė. Ir tai yra normalu, bet, damn, kaip klaikiai tai skamba, kuomet daug kur elementarios žmogaus teisės yra ignoruojamos. Negaliu sakyti, kad autorė pakeitė mano požiūrį į DI ir robotus apskritai. Aš jį pradėjau keisti jau palyginus senokai. Gal nuo Azimovo skaitymo laikų. Tačiau kai kurios mintys buvo netikėtos. Mėgstu mintinius netikėtumus. Summa summarum, būtų dar labaiu patikusi, jei būtų geriau parašyta. Tema mane labai domina, bet tekstas, mano galva, tiesiog nesutvarkytas. Ypač nervino autorės nuklydimai į naminių gyvūnų ir augintinių labai ilgas istorijas ir šiaip visokie pasikartojimai. Tikrai jautėsi autorės dalyko išmanymas, bet rašytoja iš jos nekokia. Tačiau skaityti vis tiek verta - gausu įdomios informacijos.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian Clegg

    This book is based on a fascinating concept - that we've got robots all wrong. Kate Darling is admittedly a robot enthusiast, but she makes a convincing argument that too often we compare robots to humans, where a more useful parallel might be domesticated animals. As Darling shows, most of things that worry us about robots, whether it's their usurping us or needing robot rights, are concerns that have already been developed in some depth when we think of animals. Darling also suggests that long This book is based on a fascinating concept - that we've got robots all wrong. Kate Darling is admittedly a robot enthusiast, but she makes a convincing argument that too often we compare robots to humans, where a more useful parallel might be domesticated animals. As Darling shows, most of things that worry us about robots, whether it's their usurping us or needing robot rights, are concerns that have already been developed in some depth when we think of animals. Darling also suggests that long term we don't need to worry about robots taking our jobs, just as the luddites didn't need to worry about technology - robots can and will cause disruption, but long term the outcome is more likely to be beneficial than negative. Darling also points out that predictions of robots doing more generalised tasks tend to hugely over-promise. Self-driving cars, for example, still have a long way to go and many robotic devices still need human oversight. (You might not think of self-driving cars as robots, but one of the underlying themes here is that useful robots are hardly ever the SF humanoid cliché.) This isn't a totally rose-tinted picture, though. Darling does remind us of the issues faced by anything making life-changing decisions for us based on artificial intelligence - but overall, with the right safeguards, she is enthusiastic about a future where robots will have a similar relation to us as pets and working animals. The one shame about this book is that it didn't have a science writer as co-author. Although Darling starts off in a chatty fashion, the writing suffers considerably from needing a good writer's oversight, to cut down on the significant amount of repetition and to give more sense of narrative to what can often seem like a collection of facts and ideas with insufficient structure. There is also too much on the history of animal domestication and animal rights - it needed to be fed in, but not to have whole chapters dedicated to it. It might also have helped with some of the prehistoric context. For example we are told that humans have punished animals for hundreds of thousands of years - that's a bit of a stretch. Overall, though, despite some writing issues, the book is thought-provoking and at a time when the ethics of AI and robotics is a popular topic, provides genuinely novel insights and imagination.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim Angstadt

    It took me a while to get into this book. In the first third or so of the book I started reading mainly topic sentences. The author discussed "The robots are taking our jobs." While factual and thoughtful, many people, me included, have already followed those arguments. The later part of the book was much more interesting to me, in that our reactions to robots are often similar to our reactions to animals. The author drew parallels to our love/empathy to household pets and farm animals. Most of t It took me a while to get into this book. In the first third or so of the book I started reading mainly topic sentences. The author discussed "The robots are taking our jobs." While factual and thoughtful, many people, me included, have already followed those arguments. The later part of the book was much more interesting to me, in that our reactions to robots are often similar to our reactions to animals. The author drew parallels to our love/empathy to household pets and farm animals. Most of these comparisons made a lot of sense, but also stimulated a desire for more such experiments and research. I want to have more on this topic.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris Branch

    With this book, Darling succeeds in bringing a different perspective to discussions and predictions in the area of human-robot interaction. She’s right to point out that most of the philosophical energy spent on imagining our future with robots is focused on robots that are human-like, and the idea that we will have robots that are animal-like much sooner is certainly a neglected topic. However, I’m not sure there was really a book’s worth to say on this topic. The book reads largely like a surve With this book, Darling succeeds in bringing a different perspective to discussions and predictions in the area of human-robot interaction. She’s right to point out that most of the philosophical energy spent on imagining our future with robots is focused on robots that are human-like, and the idea that we will have robots that are animal-like much sooner is certainly a neglected topic. However, I’m not sure there was really a book’s worth to say on this topic. The book reads largely like a survey of academic literature on HRI with forays into psychology and the history and future of animal rights. I find it all to be quite reasonable, and for the short to medium term, it’s worth thinking about these things, so I’m glad that Darling and others are doing so. As advances in robotics deliver more on the promise of assistants that extend human capabilities, I hope and expect that engineers are keeping these things in mind while they’re designing these machines. More importantly, though, none of this is an argument against consideration of the things Darling seems to think people are wasting their time on: the possibility of robots replacing human workers, the ethics of building machines that might be conscious and/or have the ability to suffer; and of course the possibility of the development of superintelligent AI. These things also have their place, and even if Darling is right that we should be more concerned about the analogies between how we’ve treated animals and how we’ll treat robots in the next 25 years, what about in the next 75? It’s certainly feasible that engineers will look to our history with animals and develop companions, assistants, and partners for humans that are very different from us in many unique and useful ways. But there’s no reason to think that they’ll stop there - rather, they’ll continue to build upon those capabilities, and will eventually arrive at something that has unique intellectual abilities as well. And those abilities, given the higher limits of processing speed and power available on a mechanical rather than biological platform, will potentially put us in relationship to an entity that may well be able to decide how to treat us, the way we’ve decided how to treat animals. In summary, I found the book worthwhile, but the key points that Darling made were ones that I’d gotten the basic idea of just from hearing her in a podcast interview, with much of the additional content being references to back up her position. And as noted, there’s no need to downplay the longer term concerns in favor of her view - it seems to me that both perspectives are valid and worthy of further discussion and study. Note: I received a free advance copy of this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. Thanks very much to the author and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    stef

    dnf @ 16% Thank you Henry Holt & Co. for sending me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. I'm not dnf'ing this book because it's bad; I'm dnf'ing because I don't think I'm the right reader for it. From what I read, I can tell you that The New Breed offers a very interesting perspective on our relationship with robots and AI and I actually enjoyed the points Kate Darling made. My problem is that reading this felt like reading a very dense essay. I just finished my final exam peri dnf @ 16% Thank you Henry Holt & Co. for sending me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. I'm not dnf'ing this book because it's bad; I'm dnf'ing because I don't think I'm the right reader for it. From what I read, I can tell you that The New Breed offers a very interesting perspective on our relationship with robots and AI and I actually enjoyed the points Kate Darling made. My problem is that reading this felt like reading a very dense essay. I just finished my final exam period and I desperately need a break from academic style writing. Reading this was literally giving me flashbacks to proofreading my essays (I'm dying out here <3) and I really don't want to spend my free time reading something that reminds me of my uni assignments. Don't get me wrong, it's very accessible and not at all hard to understand (again, Kate Darling does an excellent job here), but I just couldn't bring myself to keep pushing through something I wasn't that eager to read about. I'd definitely recommend this to someone who is really keen to learn about this topic, and more willing to read a 300+ book on it. Unfortunately, that someone is not me. It took me three months to read 50 pages, and I'd rather not spend another year on this just for the sake of finishing it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sara Weather

    #183 The Good 1. Puts into perspective what is important when talking about robots- for example, how close we are to actual A.I. terminator robots vs how close we are to say the normalization of digital surveillance. I still think we have to be mindful of the push to replace us with robots but it may not even be a possibility in any of our lifetimes. 2. The insight into our relationship with animals – how that could mirror in a some ways how our relationship with robots will be. It made me think #183 The Good 1. Puts into perspective what is important when talking about robots- for example, how close we are to actual A.I. terminator robots vs how close we are to say the normalization of digital surveillance. I still think we have to be mindful of the push to replace us with robots but it may not even be a possibility in any of our lifetimes. 2. The insight into our relationship with animals – how that could mirror in a some ways how our relationship with robots will be. It made me think of Bright Green Lies which brought up similar ideas about our relationship with non-humans. 3. The bit of history shown of animals put on trial. 4. It does acknowledge the biases that are put into our technology & that we could input in our technology ways to challenge these biases. 5. We underestimate the power of human empathy and apathy. The Bad 1. Repetitive a bit with the main premise- it felt like the same thing was being said over and over in the same way. 2. Instead it would have been interesting to expand more on certain ideas. – under examined ideas. 3. Especially, since it really hit its stride for me in the last 100 or 70 pages. Overall Throughout this year I have been unintentionally getting into books that each add different perspectives/thoughts about technology. So I am happy to add another book that takes my thoughts about technology in a different direction. Other Books Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do About It The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them I won this arc from a goodreads giveaway by Henry Holt

  8. 4 out of 5

    Daryl

    Dr. Darling's premise here is that we should look at our (human's) relationship with robots, in the future, based on our relationship with animals in the past and present. That is, not as replacements for humans ("robots are taking our jobs") but as a supplement to humans in the way we use animals for work, companionship, etc. She makes the point most clearly and succinctly in the 4-page epilogue. I may have saved you from reading the book, though if that sounds interesting to you, give it a go. Dr. Darling's premise here is that we should look at our (human's) relationship with robots, in the future, based on our relationship with animals in the past and present. That is, not as replacements for humans ("robots are taking our jobs") but as a supplement to humans in the way we use animals for work, companionship, etc. She makes the point most clearly and succinctly in the 4-page epilogue. I may have saved you from reading the book, though if that sounds interesting to you, give it a go. Most of the rest of the book contains examples to make her point. It's well written and she takes a conversational tone that makes it easy reading, and often peppers her writing with personal stories and jokes that liven up the prose. I liked it while I was reading it, but I'm not sure how long it will stick with me. I won my copy through Goodreads' giveaways.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    The overall premise of comparing how we could build and relate to robots with how we've related to nonhuman animals was compelling, novel, and important. The book is easy to read and appropriate for a popular audience who want an introduction to humans' relationship to robots and humanity's history with nonhuman animals. My only issue was in the overuse of the concept of anthropomorphism and even to an extent empathy. More nuance on these psychological processes could have really enhanced Darlin The overall premise of comparing how we could build and relate to robots with how we've related to nonhuman animals was compelling, novel, and important. The book is easy to read and appropriate for a popular audience who want an introduction to humans' relationship to robots and humanity's history with nonhuman animals. My only issue was in the overuse of the concept of anthropomorphism and even to an extent empathy. More nuance on these psychological processes could have really enhanced Darling's arguments.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Clare Russell

    I thought this was extremely interesting and original, considered and well written

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brian Ringley

    Readers of Sherry Turkle may find this book a bit redundant, but Kate Darling takes a more nuanced and less moral-panicky stance than Turkle on our relationships with technology and robotics. She does this by viewing these interactions through the lens of our extensive history with animals. While this history is fraught with abuse and exploitation, Darling primarily uses this narrative to argue that the real creative potential of robotics is not to replace humans, but to collaborate with machine Readers of Sherry Turkle may find this book a bit redundant, but Kate Darling takes a more nuanced and less moral-panicky stance than Turkle on our relationships with technology and robotics. She does this by viewing these interactions through the lens of our extensive history with animals. While this history is fraught with abuse and exploitation, Darling primarily uses this narrative to argue that the real creative potential of robotics is not to replace humans, but to collaborate with machines to achieve things that simply aren’t possible with humans or robots alone.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    First off, I'm a huge fan of Kate Darling and her research, so this review is probably slightly biased. I really enjoyed all the topics that were explored, showing the connections between how we anthropomorphize animals and robots. I do wish that the author would've tied all the concepts explored together; instead, they're all transient ideas explored more or less independently of one another. I also think that the author underplayed future robotics/AI threats that humanity will eventually have t First off, I'm a huge fan of Kate Darling and her research, so this review is probably slightly biased. I really enjoyed all the topics that were explored, showing the connections between how we anthropomorphize animals and robots. I do wish that the author would've tied all the concepts explored together; instead, they're all transient ideas explored more or less independently of one another. I also think that the author underplayed future robotics/AI threats that humanity will eventually have to deal with.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    "When I think about our future with social robots, I want us to look beyond our current fears of replacement and see some of these important questions. What keeps me up at night isn't whether a sex robot with replace your partner, it's whether the company that make the sex robot will exploit you." (p. 169). I like animals. I like robots. So when I heard an interview with the author on NPR, I had to pick this book up. Darling's main point was that we can shift our fears from robots to the orga "When I think about our future with social robots, I want us to look beyond our current fears of replacement and see some of these important questions. What keeps me up at night isn't whether a sex robot with replace your partner, it's whether the company that make the sex robot will exploit you." (p. 169). I like animals. I like robots. So when I heard an interview with the author on NPR, I had to pick this book up. Darling's main point was that we can shift our fears from robots to the organizations controlling/making robots and view robots as supplements to the human experience, rather than replacements. I'm not really sure if this book would change a die-hard "robots are going to take over!" type of person. Darling approaches the topic with lots of reasoning (robots can work alongside humans to create and achieve things humans alone couldn't do, the way adding animals to farm labor did in early agriculture; robots can do jobs too dull, dangerous, or dirty for humans; robots can provide comfort like therapy animal alternatives). She then addresses how our real fears should be directed not toward robot replacements for jobs/relationships, but towards governments/companies that want to take advantage of people for societal control and/or monetary gain. I think people who really fear the idea of robots would agree with Darling's point about who the real puppet masters are. But I think she would lose this audience by referencing her thesis, as is a standard in academia, over and over. There would need to be more acknowledgement of where this side's fears are coming from and meeting them where they are in their beliefs. For example, interviewing factory workers, portraying their fears with empathy, and then giving an anecdote on a similar situation with animals might help engage that type of reader. There were a WHOLE lot of references from online news articles, Japan, and Brian Fagan's The Intimate Bond. My favorite anecdote from this novel was about the Pleo baby dinosaur robots at a conference. I also had a trip down memory lane to recall that brief moment in time where setting Tickle Me Elmo on fire was an internet trend. I definitely want to read the WIRED article by Daniel Roth based on the following quote Darling embedded. "Yet give something a couple of eyes and the hint of lifelike abilities and suddenly some ancient region of my brain starts firing off empathy signals. And I don't even like Elmo." (p.212) Speaking of empathy, Darling had great comments about the connection between people's empathy and how they treat robots socially. Lastly, the section "New companions in Health and Education" definitely got me thinking how I may incorporate robots into speech therapy for school-age children. I could see myself in the future programing and working with a robot to demonstrate articulation cues based on the robot's quick analysis of spectrograms in real-time. And if a kid feels less pressure to practice articulation targets with a robot, that's great! The therapist is not replaced. Rather, the therapist would then get to focus on working with the child to transfer skills to different contexts. Darling acknowledged how therapists and parents should be cautious of "new therapy methods without sufficient evidence that they're effective" (p. 148). This line jumped out at me the most and is something I will remember when I think about my own future as an SLP working with supplemental technology. P.S., I'd love to read an article about neurodiversity and robots as communication partners rather than just the robot teaching an autistic child neurotypical communication skills.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alger Smythe-Hopkins

    Was I the only one who thought that if ever an AI wanted to convince humanity that AI and robots were not a threat, THIS would be the book Skynet would write? So, I seem to be an outlier in my two-star opinion. I rate it only 'Okay' not because the book was poor, but rather that this treatment wasn't very informative and tended to repeat the premise rather than illustrating how thinking of AI partnerships as we do animal partnerships will be useful. So telling rather than showing. Neither did I a Was I the only one who thought that if ever an AI wanted to convince humanity that AI and robots were not a threat, THIS would be the book Skynet would write? So, I seem to be an outlier in my two-star opinion. I rate it only 'Okay' not because the book was poor, but rather that this treatment wasn't very informative and tended to repeat the premise rather than illustrating how thinking of AI partnerships as we do animal partnerships will be useful. So telling rather than showing. Neither did I appreciate the sense of inevitability of this integration. There is nothing inevitable about robotics, this is a choice of future not a requirement. Neither did the book address a basic difference between coexistence of humans with animals and with robots: the integration of animals was a negotiation, they were already here as a finished project. People needed to adapt to their capacities and learned to make do with the idiosyncrasies of a living thing with it's own agenda. Robotics is the creation of purpose-built agents that we can redefine at will. There is a very different dynamic happening, although I believe Darling has made a useful re-framing of future relationships. Also, Darling repeatedly suggests that our relationships with the animals we coexist with is free somehow of the anthropomorphism she believes is so damaging when applied to robots. That is just simply, obviously, wrong. The good of the book was that it was very accessible and presented a sensible premise for rethinking how people can integrate more automation, more AI, and more functionally useful robotics into our daily experience. It just simply failed in my opinion to demonstrate what that would look like, and that is my only interest in reading this book. I also wasn't all that fond of the little personal anecdotes found in each chapter. They didn't serve much of a purpose and were annoying in that Thomas Friedman (aka: The Mustache of Understanding) Meets Another Folk Philosopher Driving His Cab vein.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Boutté

    This book is so damn good, it makes me sick. Although, I’ve been a computer nerd my whole life and love technology, I have little to no interest in robots or AI (Which is weird because as a kid, my dream was to go to MIT, so maybe I’m resentful because I realized how it was near impossible to fulfill that dream). So, when I saw this book recommended by another author I love, I left a reply on Twitter explaining that this topic isn’t really my thing. Then, after the author replied to my tweet (an This book is so damn good, it makes me sick. Although, I’ve been a computer nerd my whole life and love technology, I have little to no interest in robots or AI (Which is weird because as a kid, my dream was to go to MIT, so maybe I’m resentful because I realized how it was near impossible to fulfill that dream). So, when I saw this book recommended by another author I love, I left a reply on Twitter explaining that this topic isn’t really my thing. Then, after the author replied to my tweet (and this is surprisingly rare), I read the description and decided to give it a try because it mentioned that it was going to discuss some of the ethical and philosophical aspects of robots, and these are topics I do enjoy. Once I finally started reading htis book, I was hooked. First off, Kate Darling is a great writer. I love to learn, but sometimes, when diving into unfamiliar territory, the jargon goes way over my head, and that’s what I was expecting from this book, but that wasn’t the case. Kate does an incredible job writing in a way that anyone can understand, but also, her whole thesis and comparing the history and treatment of animals to the future of robots made it even easier to follow. As a vegetarian, maybe Kate’s arguments resignated more with me, but I do think most people would enjoy this book. She covers so many great topics about the past, present, and future of robots and our relationships with them, and I was pleasantly surprised that there’s quite a bit of psychology discussed in the book as well. So, do I recommend this book? Absolutely. Not only did I love this book, but she made me interested in the topic as a whole. Now that I’ve finished it, I have a bunch of books on my list to check out for more discussions around the ethical and philisophical aspects of robots and AI.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Silvio

    Very good point on how to think about robots and AI Not a fear mongering book at all. The author makes a point that to think about how we are going to and we are interacting with robots is thinking about how we interact with animals. She takes a long time to make that pont from all possible angles: replace of human labor? Robot rights? Are robots to replace humans in general? Do we feel bad about robots sentiments? The main argument is that studying how we interact with animals give us a framewor Very good point on how to think about robots and AI Not a fear mongering book at all. The author makes a point that to think about how we are going to and we are interacting with robots is thinking about how we interact with animals. She takes a long time to make that pont from all possible angles: replace of human labor? Robot rights? Are robots to replace humans in general? Do we feel bad about robots sentiments? The main argument is that studying how we interact with animals give us a framework. This is very good argument. Also she reviews the state of the art of possible and no, Terminator is not around the corner and maybe never be. For the future it is important to remember that all predictions on technology are hard and always missed what really transformed our life (internet? Mobile phones?). I was between a 4 or 3 stars because at least for me the book was hard to read, maybe the point with animals is stressed and, maybe, repeated too much? Also she points that it is hard to define what's robot is, and never come back to this point. And maybe she is right, we do not need to have a philosophical complete and rational definition of what a robot is: robots are here and we are reacting to them. Just start from there

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    One of the things that pushed me to pick up this book is Darling’s view that we don’t necessarily have to be at war with robots in order to survive as species, as so often presented in science fiction films and literature. She insists that there are other alternatives to our relation with robots, one where we collaborate with them to make our life easier. With her broad experience with robots, Darling declares that robots are too far from being autonomous for certain tasks let alone to completely One of the things that pushed me to pick up this book is Darling’s view that we don’t necessarily have to be at war with robots in order to survive as species, as so often presented in science fiction films and literature. She insists that there are other alternatives to our relation with robots, one where we collaborate with them to make our life easier. With her broad experience with robots, Darling declares that robots are too far from being autonomous for certain tasks let alone to completely replace us. Also, she insists that if we keep this vision of robots as our enemies it can limit all the potential that human-robots relation can achieve. In her view, we could look at robots as a replacement of an older and popular non-human relationship, that is the one we have with animals. We could expand all the knowledge that we gained in that area and apply it to robots. In this specific animal topic, I am not entirely convinced what is the book aim, is Darling trying to address our relationship with animals using robots or is she exploring the full potential of the relation with robots. The extent of the animals section in the book made me conclude it was the former. I definitely think that robots replacing animals could be a starting point. However, we shouldn’t completely ignore the risks exposed by science fiction. For groups investing and developing AI may have a completely different goal, including at some point replacing humans in some areas. Overall, I appreciate the book and its thought-provoking ideas.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Granted, this is another one of those books that could have been a long-form article and still effectively conveyed its core ideas. But the padding that Darling adds (in terms of examples, stories, etc.) is pretty interesting, so it wasn't hard to finish this book. More to the point, her thesis is a *much* needed counterweight to the prevailing AI/robot narratives that we see in the news and popular media. Her use of human-animal relations as an analogue for human-robot relations paints a much mo Granted, this is another one of those books that could have been a long-form article and still effectively conveyed its core ideas. But the padding that Darling adds (in terms of examples, stories, etc.) is pretty interesting, so it wasn't hard to finish this book. More to the point, her thesis is a *much* needed counterweight to the prevailing AI/robot narratives that we see in the news and popular media. Her use of human-animal relations as an analogue for human-robot relations paints a much more realistic (and, thus, much messier and more complex) picture of our future with this "new breed." Her point that we shouldn't focus on machines taking the place of humans is well made. Instead, we can design them to do things that we can't do well (or at all), in the same way that we have long cultivated different animals to provide us with types of strength and intelligence that we lack. She also does a good job of considering the ethical issues we might face with robots, and how those can actually inform (and hopefully improve) our treatment of animals. Overall, it was a very interesting book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Terralynn Forsyth

    This book was an interesting exploration of our history with animals in an attempt to challenge our traditional mental models when thinking about our evolving future with machine intelligence. It poses the question: could our relationship with animals and how we've evolved to think about animal rights pose a better framework to think about robots, rather than anthropomorphizing robots? While it's an interesting question to explore, I didn't come away being convinced. I think 1) there might be to This book was an interesting exploration of our history with animals in an attempt to challenge our traditional mental models when thinking about our evolving future with machine intelligence. It poses the question: could our relationship with animals and how we've evolved to think about animal rights pose a better framework to think about robots, rather than anthropomorphizing robots? While it's an interesting question to explore, I didn't come away being convinced. I think 1) there might be too deeply engrained evolutionary patterns that limit us in treating/thinking of robots as more pet than human and 2) AI/robotic intelligence will prove much superior to human intelligence in the near future which is very different than how I relate to animals. I also found the author overly relying on a strong social justice lens to the point of having trigger warnings on each chapter which seemed more like an attempt to be trendy and detracted from some of the book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and found it very entertaining. Some AI books can be a little 'out there' and, based on the title alone, I did initially wonder whether this might be one of those, but was reassured by the author's credentials as an expert in Robot Ethics (she is probably best known for her research project that asked volunteers to physically 'discipline' robotic toy dinosaurs, which she discusses in the book). The underlying thesis is that, instead of thinking of robots as ana I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and found it very entertaining. Some AI books can be a little 'out there' and, based on the title alone, I did initially wonder whether this might be one of those, but was reassured by the author's credentials as an expert in Robot Ethics (she is probably best known for her research project that asked volunteers to physically 'discipline' robotic toy dinosaurs, which she discusses in the book). The underlying thesis is that, instead of thinking of robots as analogous to humans (which in their current form is far from reality), it might be more useful instead to think of them as analogous to animals (which have a long history of interacting with humans as providers of physical labor, emotional support and other such roles that robots are now currently being developed and used to provide). In support of this argument, she uses a plethora of interesting, and often amusing, examples of human interactions with animals, robots and robot animals. Although the main argument of the book may have been better served by fewer anecdotes (carefully selected to illustrate each robotics use case), thereby mitigating the need for the author to restate her thesis redundantly throughout the book to pull the reader back on topic after each detour, since the anecdotes themselves were part of what made this book fun to read it is hard for me to fault them. And the variety of stories interwoven into the text virtually guarantees that every reader will be able to come away from it having learned something new.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I’m obsessed with this book. Darling considers our future with robots (how do you define a robot?) through the lens of our history with animals. From economics and labor to empathy and companionship the parallels are striking and provocative. I’ve not read a lot about robots so this may not be saying much but this book put forward ideas and questions I had never begun to consider. The ideas are novel in a way I’ve been missing post grad-school. On top of that the book is very readable, and well I’m obsessed with this book. Darling considers our future with robots (how do you define a robot?) through the lens of our history with animals. From economics and labor to empathy and companionship the parallels are striking and provocative. I’ve not read a lot about robots so this may not be saying much but this book put forward ideas and questions I had never begun to consider. The ideas are novel in a way I’ve been missing post grad-school. On top of that the book is very readable, and well researched. Extensive citation of female scholars and activists (did you know there were women in tech!?) is the cherry on top. I began recommending this to people before I even finished it and will continue to do so. Think it is of interest to futurists and vegetarians alike.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thabang

    Very captivating and well presented. The author gives a fresh perspective on how we should view robots and how they will impact our society by providing a comparison of how we treat animals and how they have helped shape our cities, economy, and the society we live in. The animals are our friends and we have very special relationships with them driven by empathy and our own selfish desires. Something that gives hints on how robots will be integrated in our lives. Overall the book is a very satis Very captivating and well presented. The author gives a fresh perspective on how we should view robots and how they will impact our society by providing a comparison of how we treat animals and how they have helped shape our cities, economy, and the society we live in. The animals are our friends and we have very special relationships with them driven by empathy and our own selfish desires. Something that gives hints on how robots will be integrated in our lives. Overall the book is a very satisfying read and i was sold on the idea from the beginning. Definitely recommend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dale W

    Throughout my career as a software developer I have found Human-Computer Interaction to be a fascinating topic and Human-Robot Interaction adds a whole new dimension to that discussion. Darling approaches our interaction with robots from the perspective of our interaction with animals. The book cover a wide swath of topics ranging from Biblical laws regarding an animal harming a human to the empathy we show to our pets and discusses how those things might impact our relationship with robots. I s Throughout my career as a software developer I have found Human-Computer Interaction to be a fascinating topic and Human-Robot Interaction adds a whole new dimension to that discussion. Darling approaches our interaction with robots from the perspective of our interaction with animals. The book cover a wide swath of topics ranging from Biblical laws regarding an animal harming a human to the empathy we show to our pets and discusses how those things might impact our relationship with robots. I suspect I will end up reading this book more than once.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Meyer

    This was a great read from start to finish. The author used fascinating examples throughout the book, many of which seemingly deserve entire books of their own to explore. Darling was honest when the situation called for it about her viewpoint and its limitations, though might have even been to humble as she is clearly an expert in her field. For anyone with even a passing interest in robots and or animals, this is a must read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Florin Grigoriu

    The book proposes a good analogy to use for designing human-to-robot relationships, model them after past well-tested human-to-animal models dealing from ethics to emotional attachment. I see the book to be too optimistic / techno-optimistic on the impact of robots on the wider society, though I tend to agree with the thesis: the problems identified by robots displacing humans are old problems of society before robots' arrival like inflexible immigration rules or limited social cohesion. The book proposes a good analogy to use for designing human-to-robot relationships, model them after past well-tested human-to-animal models dealing from ethics to emotional attachment. I see the book to be too optimistic / techno-optimistic on the impact of robots on the wider society, though I tend to agree with the thesis: the problems identified by robots displacing humans are old problems of society before robots' arrival like inflexible immigration rules or limited social cohesion.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Powell

    A very interesting book that details the parallels (both existing and potential) our our relationships with animals and our relationships with robots. The future is goin to be interesting as we have more and more "digital help" in our lives ... but it's clear that people won't be replaced by robots, but rather start working in partnership with robots to do jobs better. Recommended! A very interesting book that details the parallels (both existing and potential) our our relationships with animals and our relationships with robots. The future is goin to be interesting as we have more and more "digital help" in our lives ... but it's clear that people won't be replaced by robots, but rather start working in partnership with robots to do jobs better. Recommended!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara Watson

    Dr. Darling offers an insightful reframing for thinking about our relationship with robots and our future as collaborators. She also shows us that how we treat robots can teach us a lot about our own humanity.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Karabaic

    Well-researched, well-written, persuasive arguments for changing how we look at embodied artificial intelligences from both a design and functionality perspective. more to come when I have the time...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ken Nickerson

    Fun, breezy read on the softer side of AI and Robotics Fun, breezy read on the softer side of AI and Robotics; and how we judge them and therefore ourselves. Besides Roko Basilisk is the Pascal’s Wager of our time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    You know those ideas you wish you thought of yourself? Well this book is one of those. From Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics to worrying about whether we will lose our jobs to automation, humans are often occupied by the idea that the technology we design and build can exceed us and our control to the detriment of humanity. So what will our relationship with robots be like? While there is no easy answer, Kate Darling presents a compelling argument that we should look to our relationships with anim You know those ideas you wish you thought of yourself? Well this book is one of those. From Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics to worrying about whether we will lose our jobs to automation, humans are often occupied by the idea that the technology we design and build can exceed us and our control to the detriment of humanity. So what will our relationship with robots be like? While there is no easy answer, Kate Darling presents a compelling argument that we should look to our relationships with animals, from beasts of burden to our companions, to understand how we might relate with robots in the future. Darling's writing is easy to read and her sprinkling of personal anecdotes can draw chuckles and makes the text more than just a comprehensive collection of facts.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...