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Download Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots Audiobook, by John Markoff Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Markoff Narrator: George Newbern Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2015 ISBN: 9780062404855
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As robots are increasingly integrated into modern society—on the battlefield and the road, in business, education, and health—Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science writer John Markoff searches for an answer to one of the most important questions of our age: Will these robots help us … or will they replace us?

At the dawn of the modern computer era, two Pentagon-financed laboratories began researching artificial intelligence. At one facility, a small group of scientists and engineers worked to recreate the human mind, while at the other, a similar group worked to augment it. For the past four decades, the dichotomy between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation (AI versus IA) has been at the heart of the revolution in computing science. Now, as the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, automated systems are confronting their designers with fundamental moral choices that have emerged too quickly for society to weigh their consequences.

In Machines of Loving Grace, New York Times reporter John Markoff, who was the first reporter to describe the World Wide Web, explores this issue. Markoff travels across the country, from the brain trusts in Palo Alto and Silicon Valley to the expanding tech corridor between Boston—home of MIT—and New York, the latest incubator for future tech development. He evaluates the present state of the AI versus IA debate; goes deep inside the science-fiction worlds of Battlestar Galactica, Terminator, and the Jetsons, which are fast becoming a reality; and talks to the insiders—scientists, entrepreneurs, ethicists, hackers, and others—who are shaping the future. The result is an incisive and chilling look at our lives today—and what may come tomorrow.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Will robots of the future be our partners or our Frankenstein’s monster? You should read this book. As Markoff explains in this engrossing narrative filled with colorful characters and head-snapping insights, the answer is up to us.”

    Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “Mr. Markoff focuses on the personalities, since technology depends on the values of its creators. The human element makes the subject accessible. (His chapter on the history of AI is superb.)”

    Economist (London)

  • “Highlights the compelling contrast between AI and intelligence amplification (IA). He chronicles the fascinating and often antagonistic evolution of these fields since 1956, when both terms were coined.”


  • “Neither alarmist nor affirmative [Machines of Loving Grace] contain[s] urgent, compelling and relevant calls to consciously embed our values in the systems we design, and to critically engage with our choices…Before welcoming our robotic overlords, read [this] book.”

    New Scientist

  • “Fascinating, informative, thought provoking.”

    San Jose Mercury News

  • “This profound look at technological and economic developments will unsettle anyone who has a job to lose.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Markoff offers a well-researched and controlled narrative…An earnest attempt to parse the future impact of these radical advances.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “George Newbern provides a convincing, conversational narration of this audiobook about robot intelligence…Though narrator Newbern does a balanced job presenting the arguments and facts, perhaps a human narrator might already be passé. Siri, call your agent!”


  • “How should we balance what machines can do for us, and what they can help us do for ourselves? Markoff hits on one of the central questions in technology today. A fascinating read.”

    Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest

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About the Author

John Markoff has been a technology and business reporter at the New York Times since 1988. He was part of the team of New York Times reporters who won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting and is the author of What the Dormouse Said. He lives in San Francisco.

About the Narrator

George Newbern is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and a television and film actor best known for his roles as Brian MacKenzie in Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II, as well as Danny in Friends. As a voice actor, he is notable for his role as Superman on the Cartoon Newtork series Static Shock, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. He has guest starred on many television series, including Scandal, The Mentalist, Private Practice, CSI: Miami, and Numb3rs. He holds a BA in theater arts from Northwestern University.