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The Economic Singularity: Artificial intelligence and the death of capitalism

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  516 ratings  ·  62 reviews
“Read The Economic Singularity if you want to think intelligently about the future.”
Aubrey de Grey

Artificial intelligence (AI) is overtaking our human ability to absorb and process information. Robots are becoming increasingly dextrous, flexible, and safe to be around (except the military ones!).  It is our most powerful technology, and you need to understand it.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published July 18th 2016 by Three Cs (first published July 2016)
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C. Townsend The many perturbations of the economic singularity theory do call for scenarios of great unrest if technological unemployment issues are not solved an…moreThe many perturbations of the economic singularity theory do call for scenarios of great unrest if technological unemployment issues are not solved and or the prices are not allowed to fall as political welfare states try to fight them off through hyper inflation. Then there is the real issue of the deep green anti tech set who are admirers of neo-Medievalism trying to shut down tech advancement and force everyone back to the stone age. This could lead to widespread violence as society could be stuck in the grip of an ideological rip tide, with the new age coming in and the old age hanging on and trying to take everyone back.(less)

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Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Do you believe AGI (artificial general intelligence) state can be reached, i.e. one day a machine can perform any task that an adult human can?
My intuition is NO. Sure, machine-learning can take artificial mind way beyond pattern recognition, but a robot won’t be wearing consciousness on its sleeve any time soon.
But don't mark my words! 
Anyway, The book was trying to address a more immediate event that the author dubbed economic singularity. When it happens the machines will take most of our
Richard Leis
Aug 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: technology
Much of The Economic Singularity by Calum Chace is devoted to supporting the argument that machines will take over many and eventually most jobs from humans. In fact, the first 60% of the book steps through this argument, providing definitions, facts, anecdotes, and other carefully footnoted details. After this, the few remaining chapters describe possible consequences of an economic singularity in which the impact of this technological unemployment occurs rapidly and without clear outcomes we c ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was informative in a nuts and bolts way, lying out the history of AI development, more recent accomplishments and setbacks, and projected goals of major AI innovators. Its interesting, though, to measure the progress between even just the publish date of the book in July 2016 and the present. Some of the author's estimations (and Tesla and Google's estimations) have already fallen flat (self driving cars) while a few of them have held (distribution of VR entertainment via iphone and an ...more
Matt Hawkins
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this mainly optimistic outlook on the aftermath of robots taking over most jobs. I'm less optimistic, but this book gave me a lot to think about. ...more
Sam Allen
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
A perfect primer for those wanting to get to grips with the future of AI and automation, in particular, its effect on human society and economy.
My original The Economic Singularity audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Calum Chace’s The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the death of capitalism provides a harrowing look into the world of AI. It was pure serendipity that I read Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford this semester in a graduate Human Computer Interaction class, a book that Chace’s book refers to in his as important to getting a good grasp of the AI topics. In some ways, this book ta
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-boy
The writer poses interesting predictions on various professions. However, many of his predictions for year 2021, 2031 and 2041 are mere extrapolations of current available science and technology.

A book dedicated to economics is woefully short of predictions on geo-political changes. Predictions carefully skirts the idea of Black Swans like natural disasters. Improbability and randomness of technology is not taken into account in a satisfactory manner.

Also a major part of the world's population
Tim Dugan
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well researched but not compelling

Some good ideas but somewhat dry, like some nerdy guy's book report

Some serious aspects not covered...unless I slept through

- the greying of the population
- inequalities between nations exacerbated by "AI"
- other negative trends like climate change, radical groups, population explosion, etc
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Not a whole lot new here, much of the book is a recap of the tech which covered more in depth in other books
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The economic singularity is coming and the human race is not ready for it. Millenials will carry the burden of leading humanity through first the economic singularity and then through the technological singularity.

Even if you don't believe this premise, it would be foolish to ignore it. Technology is definitely advancing and it behooves us to ask how this will affect and shape the world we live in. To brush these ideas aside as "sci-fi" or Hollywood is simply irresponsible. The problem is that m
Abi Olvera
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most fascinating books I've read all year. This is the kind of book that changes how you see the world. Just how computers changed the world in a few decades, artificial intelligence has reached important milestones: learning natural language and learning to learn. Forbes and AP actually have thousands of articles written by AI. We readers can't tell the difference between articles written by a human and those written by AI. A machine taught itself to play pong, and after 24 hours of ...more
Vikram X
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Singularity – a point in space where all known laws of physics breakdown ; Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom hijacked the terminology from physics , now what is frequently plagiarized in the Artificial Intelligence context ie. Technological Singularity. Chace's book supposedly deals with the Economic aspect prior to arrival of "conscious" AI; however, I found it lacking on the economic aspects. 
The book sights examples of where AI is making inroads into traditionally "safe" bastions of white c
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
A little dry, but enjoyable summary of the economic implications of AI progress.
Since I read Martin Ford's "Rise of the Robots", Kevin Kelly's "Inevitable", and Harari's "Sapiens", there had been some repetitions from these books as well - but overall a great summary on the trends and predictions.
For someone totally new to the field, it is a worthwhile read - not overly optimistic or pessimistic, the writer tries to stay impartial throughout the book.

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technolo
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very grounded glimpse on what could the future of A.I hold for us. The author discusses how could machines displace humans from the labor market almost altogether, making Universal Basic Income (UBI) a necessity. He also exposes the concept of the "the Godlike and the Useless", in which humanity could be separated into two groups, the working elite that controls all of the machines and hence all of the production, and the rest of humanity, living a life of leisure and virtual reality. Calum Ch ...more
Ida Lindvig
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great balanced view of the impact of AI and the implications of our current economic society.

Lots of interesting facts about past events, enjoyed the scenario analysis and predictions.
As machines graduate from offering just physical labour to offering cognitive skills as well, will they begin to steal jobs that we cannot replace? When will be see a "peak human"? Is it different this time?

After reading this book I hope for the centaurs scenario- and that it will last longer...and that humans w
Fred Benson
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Overall a pretty good primer to Machine Learning's possible impacts on society. The title is a bit misleading as there is not much discussion as to how AI will kill capitalism or what it can be replaced with. The structure of it is kind of odd with sub-chapters and sub-sub-chapters, some only a few sentences long. It's a decent high-level overview but I walked away feeling like there wasn't a lot of meat here. It's more like an outline for a longer book. ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
(Really, 3.5 stars). This is an acceptable overview of a lot of technological changes, primarily centered around AI and Machine Learning, and how they will affect economics. I didn't learn anything new from this, but also didn't find it wrong in any glaring ways, so it's probably a decent basic to intermediate introduction to the topic. Chace is a good writer and the writing is clear, arguments presented well, and it doesn't presuppose too much knowledge on the part of the reader. ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well researched view of the future. I have read a number of books lately that assess the future impact of technology. This is the best one that I have read. If you are not up to speed on the many advances in Artificial Intelligence, this book may strike you as far fetched. I think that it is an accurate depiction.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting examples from all around the globe how AI is progressing in various areas. Although the title may suggest otherwise, the book doesn't go in to depth how this will change our society and economy.

I can recommend this book if you're interested in AI, but if you're looking for alternative economies and visions for the future you should look elsewhere.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
The age of robots and automation is inevitable and near. The book covers central benefits and challenges. It proposes a universal basic income for the workers left unemployd. Personally I would focus more on how augmentation could benefit humanity, but good that Chase highlights the dangers.
Mark Wilson Ramsay
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very balanced interpretation of the future with artificial intelligence.

If you want to know more about what the future could look like, then this is a must read. It offers alternative futures that may sound incredible but it compels you to read on.
John Baronian
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found it an ok assessment of the future. Chase, laid out lots of the variables and offered up a lot of the current companies that are doing the work in the area of creating the economic sinularity. I definitely suggest you read it if you are interested in Futurism.

Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, post-cap
More of an introductory work on the subject. Worth reading first before others, but perhaps not after.
Alex Airplane
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my usual genre and somewhat of a slog for me, but generally very readable and certainly very thought-provoking (even frightening at times).
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great thoughts on how AI will impact society and how our economic systems may or may not quote.
Saad Khan
Feb 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Lost interest half way through, too much to grasp in a single read.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting discussion of the "Engels pause" in which wages lagged productivity and what it means for the future of jobless AI ...more
Michael Brewington II
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Intriguing read

Author definitely performed vast amounts of research and organized it well. Topics were well thought out. It's a good read. ~mdbii
Sāwan Subā
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A good summary of many ideas flowing around, but lacks critical or profound insights that I was expecting from this book.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: blinkist
That prediction of self-driving cars accessible to the public by 2020 didn't really pan out, eh. ...more
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Calum studied philosophy at Oxford University, where he discovered that the science fiction he had been reading since early boyhood is actually philosophy in fancy dress.

He published "Surviving AI", a non-fiction review of the promise and peril of artificial intelligence in September 2015. Previously, he published "Pandora's Brain", a novel about the first conscious machine.

He is a regular speaker

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