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

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots Audiobook, by John Markoff Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: John Markoff Narrator: George Newbern Publisher: HarperAudio 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 machines help us, or will they replace us?

In the past decade alone, Google introduced us to driverless cars, Apple debuted a personal assistant that we keep in our pockets, and an Internet of Things connected the smaller tasks of everyday life to the farthest reaches of the internet. There is little doubt that robots are now an integral part of society, and cheap sensors and powerful computers will ensure that, in the coming years, these robots will soon act on their own. This new era offers the promise of immense computing power, but it also reframes a question first raised more than half a century ago, at the birth of the intelligent machine: Will we control these systems, or will they control us?

In Machines of Loving Grace, New York Times reporter John Markoff, the first reporter to cover the World Wide Web, offers a sweeping history of the complicated and evolving relationship between humans and computers. Over the recent years, the pace of technological change has accelerated dramatically, reintroducing this difficult ethical quandary with newer and far weightier consequences. As Markoff chronicles the history of automation, from the birth of the artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation communities in the 1950s, to the modern day brain trusts at Google and Apple in Silicon Valley, and on to the expanding tech corridor between Boston and New York, he traces the different ways developers have addressed this fundamental problem and urges them to carefully consider the consequences of their work.

We are on the verge of a technological revolution, Markoff argues, and robots will profoundly transform the way our lives are organized. Developers must now draw a bright line between what is human and what is machine, or risk upsetting the delicate balance between them.

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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.