17. The Second Machine Age | Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee | PodNu Podcasts & Book Insights

Human society is at a critical juncture in the second machine age, and the Earth and its peoples are bearing the impact of this period of tremendous change. As such, its vital for life in the 21st century that we are prepared for the dramatic changes ahead for life as we know it. First you need to know that the first machine age refers to the industrial revolution that broke out at the end of the 18th century with the birth of the steam engine. So what is the second machine age?

In 2005, a blockbuster best-selling book The Singularity Is Near was published in the United States. The author Raymond Kurzweil made a bold prediction in the book. He declared that by 2045, at the latest, humans would be able to create real artificial intelligence, that is, cognisant robotic beings. After that, the speed of technological growth would become out of control, and the pace of change would outsrip people’s ability to comprehend it. The so-called ‘Singularity’ in the title of the book does not refer to the concept of physics of an object with infinite mass, but instead refers to general artificial intelligence, which surpasses human intelligence in all aspects.

Ever since the concept of Singularity was born, there have been controversies surrounding its father, Kurzweil...

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