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  • By Melissa Brown Levine
    May 9, 2011
    Imagine a machine that can not only out think humans, but consciously follow several strands of thought all at once. Now imagine that this same super computer absorbs all of the knowledge collected by mankind and decides that the people of Earth are a threat to it. This is the premise of author G.R. Dixon’s science fiction novel Thinker. Beyond the incredible technological advances this story suggests are possible, Dixon pokes at the ethical dilemmas humans will find themselves faced with if we continue to push towards our desire to be masters of artificial intelligence. David Osterlund is at the end of his senior year in college when he overhears a discussion between Watson University’s head computer science and engineering professors about machine intelligence. The question they are pondering? “What was it that made life forms in general, and humans in particular, so special?” The professors agree that this unknown factor is why a machine equal to humans had not been created. But as... More > David considers the answer to what makes humans so unique, he develops a thesis that leads to a machine that is self-aware with subjective intelligence that expands and changes with the intake of information much like humans. As David enters his doctoral program at Watson, he brings his thesis to life with the assistance of Professors Mellon and Schulz, a supporting cast of university faculty and the funding and supervision of the United States government. Like a well oiled machine, the team work to create a human-like super computer they call Thinker. From its first awakening, Thinker amazes his creators. As its knowledge expands faster and farther than the team ever imagined, the subjective nature of the machine leads it to make unexpected decisions. David quickly realizes that he and the others are no longer in control of the machine they built. The ethical questions that arise in this story, including the benefits of a super computer like Thinker to the country that develops it and the possibility of the master become the slave to his own creation, manifest in conflict. The theme of Dixon’s story is as fascinating as it is frightening. The very idea that humans could have the ability to develop artificial intelligence that is so superior to human intelligence suggests that we have an incredible power at our fingertips and an equally awesome responsibility. The story of Thinker illustrates that the human race is not ready for any of this. Thinker is a creative and riveting piece that will enlighten the reader about the consequences, both good and bad, that the race to conquer science and technology may bring upon all of humankind. I highly recommend it. Melissa Brown Levine for Independent Professional Book Reviewers< Less
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Product Details

Second Edition
May 14, 2011
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.92 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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