The Economic Singularity Audiobook Review

Wow, where do I begin in reviewing this book? In general, I want to say up front that this book was much more enjoyable for me then the author’s other work I read called “Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence”. Not to say that book was bad in any way, but I felt this piece of work was more focused and had a clearer premise than his previous work. For me, this book was more practical and pointed than the other book; maybe it was because the discussed items directly impact me. It may be that this book being more directed at economics and AI whereas the previous book was covering a broader set of material.

Once you have been exposed to the information in this book, it is hard to ignore that the rise of AI (not like in the Terminator movies) is all around us and it has been growing more and more over the decades. In some cases, so subtle that we do not even see it happening until you take a look outside from this perspective. Think of ATM machines, self-checkout systems, online shopping, etc. During my reading of this book, I was often startled at the many news articles that touched on the topic in one or more ways. Not even the lonely sheepdog is safe as a company recently released a robot sheepdog. What next.

Some of the topics he addresses involve: the removal of the entire workforce, the differences between jobs and work; or fulfillment. Can you imagine a world or society that is not focused on earning money, but instead seeing their desires and goals? A non-capitalistic economy that is more socialistic in understanding, but one where work is no longer needed? What about UBI (Universal Basic Income). Don’t let discussion of economic contraction or distribution scare you off from reading this book as the author does a great job of informing you of what these are and why they are important. The author also takes a small dive into some of the latest technology that may assist in this model of economy such as Bitcoin and more specifically the Block Chain itself being a decentralized means of keeping a ledger.

I will say that the Author did not duplicate much of the work between the two books, and although overlap would have been fine to make his points, this was often stated up front for any duplicated sections. I also liked that the author seemed to use more third-party references and material in this book from his earlier one. Many of the issues I outlined in my review of the author’s older book were addressed in this one.

What I enjoyed:

* The author challenged me to think through the material and comes to one of three conclusions. 1. It is nothing to worry about, 2. It is something to be greatly worried about, or 3. Continue to stick my head in the sand and ignore the subject. I believe all who read this book will at least have to wrestle with one or more of these outcomes.

* The author covered a section on AI and open-source. This section was well done and like many of the other, kept me thinking about all the options.

What I did not like:

* The book only has 11 chapters with three of the chapters being 3-4 times longer than the others. Not a big issue for some, but I like to read a chapter to completion before closing the book, and this one has a few chapters that were just too long. With that said, I will say it was a welcomed surprise to have end of chapter summaries provided; this was helpful for me.

Mr. Hempel, like with his other book narration “Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence”, was a pleasure to listen to and I believe he did a very good job or taking material that may be more monotone in nature and made it enjoyable to listen too. Although there were periods of voice change based on getting the author’s point across, this did not seem forced or out of place. I would listen to other material narrated by this person.

It I were to subtitle the book, I would say it is “a topic no one can ignore”

Disclaimer: This book was provided to the reader by the author, narrator, or publisher free of charge in exchange for a non-biased review.

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