Books  |    |  February 2, 2016

Heartificial Intelligence

by John Havens.
Published by TarcherPerigee.
304 pages.

As we program machines to be more like humans, how will they know what we value, if we don’t know ourselves? The notion of robots gaining consciousness is beginning to become a reality, but the future of human happiness is dependent on our ability to teach machines what we value the most today. Featuring pragmatic solutions drawing on economics, emerging technologies, and positive psychology, Heartificial Intelligence provides a road map to help readers embrace the present and better define their future.  Using fictional vignettes to help readers relate to larger concepts, this book paints a vivid portrait of how our lives might look in either a dystopia of robot dominance or a utopia where we use technology to enhance our natural abilities and evolve into a long-lived, super-intelligent, and caring species.

Algorithms will soon know more about us than we know ourselves. 

Where should machine automation end? Is it acceptable to have a digital assistant arrange your calendar, but not to have a robot spouse? Are companion robots acceptable for seniors in need of comfort, but not okay for toddlers exposed to emotional software that could influence their behavior? Is it desirable to live a life within the virtual reality of Facebook’s Oculus Rift, but not if your thoughts are sold to advertisers who manipulate your purchases?

We’ve entered an era where a myriad of personalization algorithms influence our every decision, and the lines between human assistance, automation, and extinction have blurred.  We need to create ethical standards for the Artificial Intelligence usurping our lives, and allow individuals to control their identity based on their values. Otherwise, we sacrifice our humanity for productivity versus purpose and for profits versus people.

Featuring pragmatic solutions drawing on economics, emerging technologies, and positive psychology, Heartificial Intelligence provides the first values-driven approach to algorithmic living—a definitive roadmap to help humanity embrace the present and positively define their future.  Each chapter opens with a fictional vignette, helping readers imagine how they would respond to various Artificial Intelligence scenarios while demonstrating the need to codify their values, as the algorithms dominating society today are already doing.

Funny, poignant, and accessible, this book paints a vivid portrait of how our lives might look in either a dystopia of robotic and corporate dominance, or a utopia where humans use technology to enhance our natural abilities to evolve into a long-lived, super-intelligent, and altruistic species.

Table of Contents

Section One: Artificial Intelligence

  • A Brief Stay in the Uncanny Valley
  • The Road to Redundancy
  • The Deception Connection
  • Mythed Opportunities
  • Ethics of Epic Proportions
  • Bullying Beliefs

Section Two: Genuine Progress

  • A Data in the Life
  • A Vision for Values
  • Mandating Morals
  • Mind the GAP (Gratitude, Altruism, and Purpose)
  • The Evolution of Economics
  • Our Genuine Challenge

About the Author

John C. Havens is a TEDx speaker and a contributing writer for Mashable, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. He is the founder of the H(app)athon Project, a nonprofit organization “connecting happiness to action one phone, one heart, and one city at a time” through the use of interactive, sensor-based smartphone surveys. A