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Rapture for the Geeks: When AI Outsmarts IQ

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  119 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
“Nimble and entertaining . . . A fascinating historical review of our longtime obsession with machines.”
–David Takami, Seattle Times

In Rapture for the Geeks, Richard Dooling looks at what some of the greatest minds have to say about our roles in a future in which technology rapidly leaves us in the dust. Is the era of Singularity, when machines outthink humans, almost upo
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Broadway Books (first published 2008)
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Feb 11, 2009 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Jumped out at me from the "New Books" shelf at the library.
Executive Summary: don't bother; the Beginner's Guide to the Singularity still needs to be written. (But see "Bonus Points" at end of review for an interesting link.)

I was looking forward to liking this book: the title is an obvious reference to the tech singularity, and a good introduction to the subject would have been a useful book.

But this ain't it. First, Dooling spends far too much effort being clever. Now, I don't mind clever: if the author stays on topic, it can be a delightful addition
Dutch Boyd
I wouldn't say I'm sorry I read the book, as there were quite a few quotes and ideas that I hadn't run into before. The book fell short, however, in that it wasn't really the Singularity primer I had hoped for. The author's condescending prose, while sometimes funny (the passage about the Estonian hacker's fitness was interesting), was heavy and depressing. It made me feel as if Dooling doesn't particularly like humanity, or himself for that matter.

Dooling's constant use of footnotes to define e
Sep 19, 2010 Dina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After an intense bout of loud discussion concerning the future of humanity and through a bit of coincidence, I picked up Dooling's 'Rapture for the Geeks: When AI Outsmarts IQ'. The book is probably more of a three and a half star book, but I rounded up because the majority of ideas discussed therein are so interesting and, dare I say, important, that I wanted to encourage others to maybe check out my review and flip the pages for themselves.

Discussed between covers is the exponential growth of
Oct 18, 2008 Ryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Richard Dooling could use a few refresher classes on writing an effective novel. Or perhaps some adderall. The book started with an interesting premise and was engaging and well written at first. Then he started to wander. Towards the end he just got absurd. If you want to write a book about life after The Singularity, here's a tip, stick to topics relating to the Singularity and life after it. Going on a diatribe about Dawkins' "The God Myth" shortly after abounding on how geeks (probably your ...more
To be honest, if I'd read this book earlier in my life I probably would have given it a much better rating. I picked it up because I'm a fan of Dooling's fictional satires, White Man's Grave being my favourite, and he's a local author. Also I work in technology and having listened to Kurzweil speak on his predictions for the singularity at SpeechTek a couple of years ago, I find this to be a very fascinating topic. I found the book to be too 'golly gee technology' for my tastes and thus a little ...more
Feb 08, 2009 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, technology
The author frequently uses Internet expressions such as "n00b" and "pwn" throughout the book. Here's a term he missed that sums up this book pretty well: "meh."
The singularity, when the internet develops artificial intelligence, will happen May 17, 2033. Okay, that's just when Unix will be two billion seconds old. This book is an exploration of the future of computers, but in a funny tongue in cheek sort of way. Full of jokes like the following:

# exterminate disobedient humans

for human in group_of_humans:
if human = obedient:
promote human;
exterminate human

It's kidding, but as Al Franken might say, Dooling is kidding on the square. There is a lo
Nader Elhefnawy
The way it seems to me, not very much has been added to the theorizing of the "technological Singularity" since the rush of books and articles around the turn of the millennium (Hans Moravec's Robot, Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines, Bill Joy's "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us," etc.). Nor have we seen much rigorous testing of the most recent developments in technology against the claims that by then had been very clearly stated and argued. (Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near, for ins ...more
David Silva
Jun 25, 2015 David Silva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was very entertaining, I was at the computer history museums and it got my attention so I bought for my commute.

It deviates into a lot of things, and I see some reviewers didn't like that but I kinda appreciated it. The author used Vim to write it, so I feel to be on his side.

It did a great job introducing some of the history and development of AI and technology, lots of geeky jokes. The book came out in like 2008 so a lot of time has passed since and some of his predictions fall short
Jan 20, 2014 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2014
Parts of this book were excellent, but other parts seemed completely extraneous to the actual topic. Yes, I do agree with nearly everything that was said about Windows (the operating system), but that really felt crammed into the book without ever belonging, even if it was all accurate and amusing and such.

Also, I do like my non-fiction to be dosed with entertainment as much as anyone, but that was walking really close to the line of being "too much entertainment, not enough facts."

The book was
Oct 27, 2014 Farhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dooling speculates about the rapid technological developments that threaten to runaway from the grasp of its human creators in the near future. He discusses a lot of mind-expanding ideas like the nature of God, the role of faith in human evolutionary history, the nature of consciousness, and what the future might mean for homo sapiens' current status at the top of the food chain. Dooling's wit is sparkling and his even-handedness in discussing conflicting ideas is particularly impressive. Althou ...more
Feb 03, 2009 Jimbot rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The singularity - that point when we all will be forced to worship our new computer overlords. It's predicted *just* beyond the reach of our vision, about 2035. Moore's law and a healthy dose of nerd jargon (it gets better after he's done impressing readers) made this book like a night of playing risk, drinking mountain dew, and discussing the end of times after a terminator marathon. After a bit things get off course. I'm impressed with the MySQL database of quotes Mr. Dooling must maintain.
David C. Mueller
Aug 30, 2010 David C. Mueller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I read this book twice this year. It is the book that got me interested in using (free) Open Source software. It is a funny and quirky look at the subject of artificial intelligence and the various opinions technical and scientific people have towards how it will develop in the near future. The author is one of the wittiest writers I have ever read and I found his book as entertaining as it was informative. I especially appreciated his observations on how the belief in the upcoming technological ...more
Mar 09, 2009 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-science
Got it as a Christmas gift and just finished.

It's not a bad book. Very dry humor and lots of geek/tech references to keep the writing light. I didn't quite like the last chapter as much as others because of the sense of trying to come to a conclusion/final thought/teaching. But despite that it was a fun book to read and I think I'll visit it again in the future.

Aug 03, 2009 Inunn56 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only was this informative if not frightening, it was absolutely hilarious. The aspirations and pitfalls of the new electronic age and its ramifications in our personal lives are told with clarity, humor and foreboding. It is a cautionary tale of accidental over-involvement in the virtual world.
Dom Puzool
Dec 06, 2011 Dom Puzool rated it it was amazing
An interesting book that while the author goes where many have gone before in relation to the Technological Singularity, explores the topic with simplicity and a large dose of humour.[return][return]Read this book as an introduction to the Singularity and then go explore the Subject further
Robert Valik
Jan 23, 2012 Robert Valik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written guide to the Technological Singularity. I would recommend this book as a starting point for every geek and non-geek.
Myles Mohler
Jan 30, 2012 Myles Mohler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny so far
I felt it ends strangely. Tails off into his view on anti-religious scientists. Great book. Fantastic author.
Dec 27, 2008 Frank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The singularity for n00bs with cool Kaczynski quotes and Emily Dickinson rendered in python. A quick, mostly-fun, mostly-accurate read for techies.
Jorge Figueroa
May 04, 2013 Jorge Figueroa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly it has not aged well
And all that anti microsoft stuff, it it jarring, you are trying to read it but he keeps being a sheep, he mentions linux, but he sounds like a mactard.
James rated it liked it
Nov 22, 2011
Bookdoc rated it really liked it
Feb 25, 2012
Holly rated it liked it
Aug 16, 2011
Fred Beshears
Fred Beshears rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2013
Mike rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2009
Mark rated it it was ok
Feb 17, 2010
Larry Deaton
Larry Deaton rated it really liked it
Nov 28, 2009
Guillermo Rodriguez
Guillermo Rodriguez rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2013
Davis Terry
Davis Terry rated it really liked it
Oct 18, 2012
Marianne rated it it was ok
Jul 09, 2012
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“Why can't you summon a command line and search your real-world home for 'Honda car keys,' and specify rooms in your house to search instead of folders or paths in your computer's home directory? It's a crippling design flaw in the real-world interface.” 5 likes
“Sentences that begin with 'You' are probably not true. For instance, when I write: "You are a pet human named Morlock being disciplined by your master, a Beowulf cluster of FreeBSD 22.0 servers in the year 2052. Last week you tried to escape by digging a hole under the perimeter, which means this week you may be put to sleep for being a renegade human."

That's not true, at least not yet.”
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