Heart of the Machine


“A fascinating, and sometimes disturbing, look at a rapidly approaching future where smart machines understand and manipulate our emotions�and ultimately bond with us in ways that blur the line between ourselves and our technology.” —Martin Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Rise of the Robots

THINK Review

As indicated by the title “Heart of the Machine,” this book argues that the superiority of human thinking lies in our ability to express a loving sentiment, to create and appreciate art or understand a silly joke. Yonck argues that emotion – the first, most basic and most natural form of communication – is at the heart of how we will work with and use computers. He takes us on a wild ride through the history of the interaction between technology and our emotional lives. Yonck takes this argument all the way back to prehistory, when the breakthrough technology was stone tools and the early pre- language communication we developed to transmit emotion enabled this technology to take root.

Most intriguingly, Yonck lays out a world where robotic stuffed animals can read and respond to a child’s emotional state, a commercial message can be customized to the emotion of the recipient based on facial expression, and a company can generate authentic emotions that feel natural and normal to us.

Heart of the Machine” describes how emotions are the next leap in our age- old obsession with creating machines that replicate human intelligence. He concludes that we will merge with technology and that we have been doing so for a long time without realizing it.

This requires new technology that can master, integrate and express human emotion. Once this technology arrives, will our lives be better? Movies like “Her” and “Ex Machina” tap into our deep-seated anxieties about what might happen if machines could actually feel and break free from us. “Heart of the Machine” covers some of this same ground, only it isn’t science fiction. This is the new world we’re about to live in. Take heart.

Buy the book at Amazon.com

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