The Driver in the Driverless Car
How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future
Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever
A computer beats the reigning human champion of Go, a game harder than chess. Another is composing classical music. Labs are creating life-forms from synthetic DNA. A doctor designs an artificial trachea, uses a 3D printer to produce it, and implants it and saves a child’s life.
Astonishing technological advances like these are arriving in increasing numbers. Scholar and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa uses this book to alert us to dozens of them and raise important questions about what they may mean for us.
Breakthroughs such as personalized genomics, self-driving vehicles, drones, and artificial intelligence could make our lives healthier, safer, and easier. But the same technologies raise the specter of a frightening, alienating future: eugenics, a jobless economy, complete loss of privacy, and ever-worsening economic inequality. As Wadhwa puts it, our choices will determine if our future is Star Trek or Mad Max.
Wadhwa offers us three questions to ask about every emerging technology: Does it have the potential to benefit everyone equally? What are its risks and rewards? And does it promote autonomy or dependence? Looking at a broad array of advances in this light, he emphasizes that the future is up to us to create that even if our hands are not on the wheel, we will decide the driverless car’s destination.
About the Authors
Vivek Wadhwa is the author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, which is based on his new Kauffman Foundation research. He is director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization and executive in residence at the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University; vice president of innovation and strategy at Singularity University; fellow at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Gove ... More
Alex Salkever is vice president of marketing communications at Mozilla. He was a technology editor of BusinessWeek, a regular science contributor to the Christian Science Monitor, and a contributor to The Immigrant Exodus. ... More