Mind Children

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

How far can computers and robots advance? What are the limits for the immensely powerful, seemingly inexhaustible machines? Are there any limits at all? These are some of the questions Hans Moravec addresses in his book, MIND CHILDREN, and his answer is that indeed there are no limits. In fact, according to Moravec, our future will be one in which humans and microchips meld into some sort of robotic superman, the next entrant into the Darwinian sweepstakes.

The key to this great leap into the beyond is artificial intelligence (AI to those in the know), and Hans Moravec is one of the most accomplished scientists in that demanding field. In MIND CHILDREN, he presents a brief but comprehensive overview of progress in AI to date and provides the reader with the knowledge needed to follow the debate over robotics, computers, and the possibility of these machines actually crossing the gap into true intelligence.

While Moravec tells an interesting story, he leaves begging one important point: What exactly is intelligence, and how can it be duplicated artificially? On the central issue of language, which is certainly key to human intelligence, Moravec is silent. The future he forecasts is one of action, but not of speech.

Still, MIND CHILDREN is a well-written and provocative book, one which is essential for anyone interested in computers, human culture, or that broad and fearsome topic, the future. The book makes some striking claims for possible advances in technology and even wilder changes in human existence, and readers will leave it with much to think about and new directions for their thoughts.