The Driver in the Driverless Car (Hardcover)

How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future

By Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 9781626569713, 240pp.

Publication Date: April 3, 2017

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

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 the Author

Vivek Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering and a director of research at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering. He is a globally syndicated columnist for the Washington Post; author of The Immigrant Exodus, which the Economist named a Book of the Year of 2012; and coauthor of Innovating Women, which documents the struggles and triumphs of women in technology. Wadhwa has held appointments at Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School, UC Berkeley, and Emory University and is an adjunct faculty member at Singularity University. Alex Salkever is vice president of marketing communications at Mozilla. He was a technology editor of BusinessWeek, a regular science contributor to the Christian Science Monitor, and a contributor to The Immigrant Exodus.