The Driver in the Driverless Car by Vivek Wadhwa
How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future

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There’s plenty to give pause in The Driver in the Driverless Car — and that’s the point. We need to think about the ramifications of becoming entirely dependent on electronic devices, gadgets using A.I., and other technological crutches.
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Synopsis

A computer beats the reigning human champion of Go, a game harder than chess. Another is composing classical music. Labs are creating life-forms from synthetic DNA. A doctor designs an artificial trachea, uses a 3D printer to produce it, and implants it and saves a child's life.

Astonishing technological advances like these are arriving in increasing numbers. Scholar and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa uses this book to alert us to dozens of them and raise important questions about what they may mean for us.

Breakthroughs such as personalized genomics, self-driving vehicles, drones, and artificial intelligence could make our lives healthier, safer, and easier. But the same technologies raise the specter of a frightening, alienating future: eugenics, a jobless economy, complete loss of privacy, and ever-worsening economic inequality. As Wadhwa puts it, our choices will determine if our future is Star Trek or Mad Max.

Wadhwa offers us three questions to ask about every emerging technology: Does it have the potential to benefit everyone equally? What are its risks and rewards? And does it promote autonomy or dependence? Looking at a broad array of advances in this light, he emphasizes that the future is up to us to create—that even if our hands are not on the wheel, we will decide the driverless car's destination.
 

About Vivek Wadhwa

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Vivek Wadhwa is director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization and executive in residence at the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University; vice president of innovation and strategy at Singularity University; fellow at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; and distinguished visiting scholar, Halle Institute of Global Learning, Emory University. Wadhwa is a regular columnist for the Washington Post, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Forbes.com. In February 2012, the US government awarded Wadhwa distinguished recognition as an “Outstanding American by Choice”—for his “commitment to this country and to the common civic values that unite us as Americans.”Alex Salkever is a writer and former editor of BusinessWeek.com where he managed technology coverage for the publication. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications in print and online publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, Wired Magazine, Salon.com, BusinessWeek, and Inc. Magazine.
 
Published April 3, 2017 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 240 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Science & Math, History, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Above average
Reviewed by Patricia Gale on Mar 28 2017

There’s plenty to give pause in The Driver in the Driverless Car — and that’s the point. We need to think about the ramifications of becoming entirely dependent on electronic devices, gadgets using A.I., and other technological crutches.

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