Books  |  ,   |  October 1, 2019

A Human Algorithm: How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining Who We Are

Book by Flynn Coleman.
Published by Counterpoint Press.
336 pages.

A groundbreaking narrative on the urgency of ethically designed AI and a guidebook to reimagining life in the era of intelligent technology.

The Age of Intelligent Machines is upon us, and we are at a reflection point. The proliferation of fast-moving technologies, including forms of artificial intelligence, will cause us to confront profound questions about ourselves. The era of human intellectual superiority is ending, and, as a species, we need to plan for this monumental shift.

A Human Algorithm: How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining Who We Are examines the immense impact intelligent technology will have on humanity. These machines, while challenging our personal beliefs and our socio-economic world order, also have the potential to transform our health and well-being, alleviate poverty and suffering, and reveal the mysteries of intelligence and consciousness. International human rights attorney Flynn Coleman deftly argues that it is critical we instill values, ethics, and morals into our robots, algorithms, and other forms of AI. Equally important, we need to develop and implement laws, policies, and oversight mechanisms to protect us from tech’s insidious threats.

To realize AI’s transcendent potential, Coleman advocates for inviting a diverse group of voices to participate in designing our intelligent machines and using our moral imagination to ensure that human rights, empathy, and equity are core principles of emerging technologies. Ultimately, A Human Algorithm is a clarion call for building a more humane future and moving conscientiously into a new frontier of our own design.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Our Brave New World

  • Intelligent Machines
  • The Last Frontier of Invention
  • Posthuman
  • The Arcana of Values

Fire to Firewalls: A Brief History of Technology

  • Early Tech
  • The Mechanical Age
  • Electricity
  • The Electronic Age

The Science of Intelligence: Algorithms, Animals, and Machines That Can Learn

  • The Beginning
  • The Nuts and Bolts
  • Modeling the Human Mind
  • Intelligence—Who Has It?
  • The AI Effect

The Danger of Homogeneity and the Power of Combinatorial Creativity

  • Who Is Going to Design the Future?
  • Expanding the Conversation
  • Combinatorial Creativity
  • Leonardo da Vinci and Curiosity
  • Diversifying Our Technology Requires Moral Imagination

Human Rights and Robot Rights: Privacy, Autonomous Weapons, and Instilling Values in Machines

  • Human Rights and Moral Machines
  • Can We Preserve Our Right to Privacy?
  • Should Robots Have Rights?
  • Human and Machine Accountability
  • Autonomous Weapons and Facing Our Ethical Dilemmas

The Pernicious Threats of Intelligent Machines

  • New Wars—Old Tendencies
  • Black Boxes, Bias, and Big Brother
  • The End of Truth

The Transcendent Promise of Intelligent Machines

  • Health and Well-Being
  • More Time to Connect and Be Creative
  • Humanitarian and Benevolent AI

The Economics and the Politics: Redrawing the Societal Road Map

  • Automation and Wealth Disparity
  • Growing and Thriving
  • Curious and Creative
  • Navigating the Politics
  • Redrawing the Societal Road Map
  • The Awakening

Searching for the Digital Soul

  • The Uncanny Valley
  • Self-Aware Robots
  • Searching for the Digital Soul
  • Consciousness—Who Has It?
  • Living the Uncertainty

The Adjacent Possible

  • The Adjacent Possible
  • The Overview Effect
  • Building Empathy
  • Downloading Dickinson and Programming Plath

A Human Algorithm

  • Go into the Forest
  • The Problem of God
  • Biological Transformation and Digital Evolution
  • A Human Algorithm

About the Author

Flynn Coleman s a writer, international human rights attorney, public speaker, professor, and social innovator. She has worked with the United Nations, the United States federal government, and international corporations and human rights organizations around the world. Coleman has written extensively on issues of global citizenship, the future of work and purpose, political reconciliation, war crimes, genocide, human and civil rights, humanitarian issues, innovation and design for social impact, and improving access to justice and education. A Human Algorithm is her first book.