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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.

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About the Authors

Vivek Wadhwa

Vivek Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering at Silicon Valley.  He author the of  Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain—and How to Fight BackThe Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future;  The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent; and Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology. He has ... More

Alex Salkever

Alex Salkever is a writer, futurist and technology leader. He is the co-author of Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech Is Winning The Battle To Control Your Brain - And How To Fight Back (2016) and The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Can Change the Future (2018) which was named a Finalist in the 2017 McKinsey / Financial Times Book of the Year Competition, one of the most prestigious competitions in business books. In the book and in dozens of articles published online he explores exponentially advancin ... More

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