Book Review: Preparing for The AI & Robotic Revolution

Introduction

The book Preparing for The AI & Robotic Revolution is co-authored by Noel Jerke, an executive, entrepreneur and author having experience of more than three decades in the tech sector and his son Grayson Jerke, a college student with a passion for technology. The book covers different aspects of how robotics and artificial intelligence works and impacts our lives. It puts a special emphasis on why it is usually associated with the fear of the unknown and how it can impact the livelihoods of millions of people.

The book is divided into 10 easy-to-understand chapters that cover a variety of topics related to AI and Robotics, including the basics and why we should care, history, benefits and challenges, the future and how we should prepare for the AI and robotic revolution. The book focuses on students, educators, parents, employees/employers and almost anyone interested in exploring about the topic.

Summary

As Stephen Hawking said, “AI is likely to be either the best or worst thing to happen to humanity”, we wonder if it will replace our jobs or make our lives easier. The book looks at the modern technologies from different angles and is written to make it easier to get a good understanding of the topic. AI and automation has already replaced a lot of jobs and with automated machines such as self-driving cars, it might replace tens of millions more.

We are already seeing tools like virtual assistants, RPA (Robotic Process Automation), automatic cleaning devices and other ‘smart’ gadgets being integrated into our daily lives. But the author believes this is just the beginning and there is a lot to come. The book aims to answer common questions and fears people have about robots and AI, which includes will it replace jobs and which ones, how will they make our lives any better and should we be afraid of them?

A Brief Overview of the Chapters

Chapter 1: Why Should I Care?AI and Robotics Revolution

The first chapter covers the two primary concerns related to robotics and AI i.e. the lost jobs and quality of life and delves deep into its benefits and challenges. The potential loss of millions of jobs is the main concern, while on the other hand new technologies also promise to improve the quality of life. The chapter discusses the delicate balance between the two and whether the benefits overweigh the cons.

Will advanced technologies make life easier and create new opportunities or take away livelihoods of millions of workers? Will robots and AI-powered machines have the same level of capabilities we humans have and what if they start using their capabilities for evil things? Can robots protect us? These are the kind of questions the chapter covers and addresses the major concerns people have about the advanced tech.

Chapter 2: How Did We Get Here?

The chapter discusses the history of robotics and AI, including early origins, the industrial revolution, WWI and II, and post WWII advancements. Robotics and AI has come a long way from being something we only saw in movies and has now become a reality. But that was a long journey and without understanding how we got here, it can be difficult to understand where we are headed. Although the term robot is fairly new and did not become common until the late 20th century, the concept has been there since a long time, which even dates back to ancient civilizations that had stories about self-propelling machines.

It’s not just the recent advancements that inspire us. The concepts of the timeless inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci are still a source of inspiration for many and even used by NASA for designing placatory exploration robots. During the industrial revolution (1750-1850), great progress was made in machine automation, putting an end to making almost all goods by hand. AI and robotics pose similar challenges as the industrial revolution when it comes to jobs, but will the outcomes be the same?

Compared to robotics, AI is a fairly new concept and more focused. Although the idea started surfacing in the 1950s movies, not enough computing power was available back then. It took almost four decades before the computers started becoming powerful enough. The chapter includes a timeline to give readers an idea of some of the major milestones achieved during the journey.

Chapter 3: What is a Robot?

The third chapter goes beyond apocryphal stories to explore the concepts and discusses different types of robots including residential, industrial, commercial, medical, agricultural, military robots and co-bots. It also includes some main advantages and disadvantages of robots and how they help us improve productivity and efficiency.

Chapter 4: What is AI

The chapter covers the definition of AI, different types and everyday examples. AI plays an important role in the workforce, especially research environments. The chapter explores how AI can accelerate advanced computing and how it goes well beyond consumer purposes, the advantages and disadvantages of AI.

Chapter 5: Real-world Uses of AI and Robots – The Bad

This chapter primarily focuses on the dark side of these modern technologies despite their extraordinary potential. This includes people using them for ill purposes or to harm humanity. Robots are made to obey orders without having a sense of protecting their own existence. Putting military innovations to the wrong use in robotics is one example followed by imperfection in design, unethical medical experiments and government projects.

Chapter 6: Real World Uses of AI and Robots – The Good

Chapter 6 explores the bright side of the picture and focuses on responsible use of AI and robotics for the benefit and welfare of humanity. For that to happen, AI and robotics have to be integrated responsibly into the society. Medicine, exploration, manufacturing and finance and home uses are among the key areas covered in detail as well as some prominent examples such as the IBM Watson.

Chapter 7: The Current Size of the Industry

The previous chapters mainly focused on when and what of robots and AI. This chapter covers the current situation of the industry and why it is expected to explode soon. Expert opinions about the robot and AI market and the major industry players help better understand the current landscape.

Chapter 8: What Does the Near Future Look Like?

The chapter covers the future of robotics and artificial intelligence, and how these are potentially going to impact different industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, media, education, finance, customer services and graphic designing.

Chapter 9: How Will the Revolution Affect Jobs?

The second last chapter discusses the most critical question i.e. what will happen to jobs and how will it affect us and almost everything else in the world. It goes into details about the jobs that are most likely to be replaced by robots and AI and also discusses arguments that suggest that it’s not as bad as it might seem and instead, the revolution will actually create more jobs and opportunities.

Chapter 10: How Do You Prepare for the Revolution?

The last chapter helps us better understand how to prepare for the going-to-be revolution and survive the competition with robots and AI. It discusses things we humans are still better at including acquiring complex problem-solving skills, thinking critically, being creative, managing people, emotional intelligence, negotiation skills and cognitive flexibility.

Conclusion

Preparing for the AI and Robotic Revolution is a comprehensive, yet refreshing and easy-to-digest read for anyone looking to learn about the field. It touches a lot of areas and questions without overwhelming the reader. The book makes it easier to understand otherwise complex concepts and provides a full picture with both the dark and bright sides of the revolution.