Art & Culture: <i>Generation Robot: A Century of Science Fiction, Fact, and Speculation</i> by Terri Favro

This is the year we started paying attention to the shenanigans our tech was getting up to. With dire warnings about the future of AI from the likes of Tesla founder Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking, not to mention the fact that we suddenly noticed that something as seemingly innocent as an online personality test might have repercussions on the entire free world, it just seems suddenly sensible to raise our heads, look around and see, exactly, how we’re going to get out of the mess we’ve created.

Into this very special moment in history comes Generation Robot (Skyhorse) by futurist and science fictionist Terri Favro. Favro’s take is not Elon’s shrill shout but rather a creative and reflective look at how our relationship with futuristic technologies have shifted over time. Favro examines fiction, speculation and mixes in some actual fact for an entertaining look at where we’ve been and thought-provoking peek at the possible future. As Favro points out:

Some scholars including Stephen Hawking and the professors at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, worry that super-intelligent machines could threaten the very future of humanity and totally disrupt the world as we know it.

And yet…

If robots are so bad for us, why do we love stories about them so damn much?

If, like a lot of people, you’re wondering where the current scary ride might lead, Generation Robot takes a swing at some of the causes as well as some of the answers. ◊

Linda L. Richards is an author and journalist and the editor of January Magazine.

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Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.

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