Greg Kieser releases Dear Machine: A Letter to a Super-Aware/Intelligent Machine (SAIM)


Readers can approach Greg Kieser’s Dear Machine: A Letter to a Super-Aware Intelligent Machine (SAIM) in different ways. Some may opt for consuming the text as nothing more than a meditation on advancing technology and theorizing about its future implications for humanity. Others, instead, will focus on the creative non-fiction feel of the material thanks to Kieser’s inspired decision to frame his exploration of the subject as a letter to a machine of the future he dubs SAIM. It is a philosophical work, as well, unafraid to face humanity’s foibles head on and delineate them in a manner comprehensible for a vast swath of the reading public. This is an accessible work despite its heady subject matter and ambition; Kieser, moreover, makes his points in concise fashion avoiding padding the text with extraneous wording and information.

One quality coming across from the outset is the steady confidence of Kieser’s “voice” and the polish of his writing line by line. The aforementioned “conceit” of structuring the text as a letter gives his observations and ideas a veneer of unguarded vulnerability his work might have otherwise lacked. Do not be mistaken, however – Kieser doesn’t rely on this technique to sustain the entirety of his work, but rather as an avenue for readers to engage closer with the subject at hand. It “humanizes” potentially dry subject matter, a key element that may expand the net of his book’s popular appeal. The coming years will bring changes to our world many fail to fully appreciate and anyone thoughtful about our shared future will gain from reading this book.

Kieser deserves credit for discussing the much ballyhooed negative repercussions humanity may experience from the emergence of intelligent machines. It becomes, increasingly clear, as he develops his arguments, Dear Machine is an essentially optimistic work, despite some withering takes on human history, and grounded with solid research reinforcing reinforce his views. Much of it is informed speculation, but nonetheless convincing. This a book that did not come together “overnight” – its assertions, hypothesizing, and observations are the product of immense deliberation and presented without apology or misgivings.

One of the most impressive accomplishments Kieser pulls off is how he covers so much territory in a little over one hundred pages. He structures the chapters in logical fashion and transitions well from topic to topic without ever threatening to lose the reader, but the cool precision of his prose provides him with the sharpest tool for digging deep into ideas about how intelligent machines will potentially emerge, collaborate with humanity, and interact with existing ecosystems. His wide-ranging map for how he sees these developments reshaping the world as we know takes in more than you might expect. Greg Kieser’s Dear Machine: A Letter to a Super-Aware Intelligent Machine (SAIM) can connect with readers in different ways, but it is ultimately a well conceived and multi-layered study that, in unexpected ways, reveals something of the author as well. It is a rare accomplishment and a valuable contribution to studies about the impact of advancing technology.


Jason Hillenburg posted by Anne Hollister

Anne Hollister

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