Algorithms will soon know more about us than we know ourselves
Where should machine automation end? Is it acceptable to have a digital assistant arrange your calendar, but not to have a robot spouse? Are companion robots acceptable for seniors in need of comfort, but not okay for toddlers exposed to emotional software that could influence their behavior? Is it desirable to live a life within the virtual reality of Facebook’s Oculus Rift, but not if your thoughts are sold to advertisers who manipulate your purchases?
We’ve entered an era where a myriad of personalization algorithms influence our every decision, and the lines between human assistance, automation, and extinction have blurred. We need to create ethical standards for the Artificial Intelligence usurping our lives, and allow individuals to control their identity based on their values. Otherwise, we sacrifice our humanity for productivity versus purpose and for profits versus people.
Featuring pragmatic solutions drawing on economics, emerging technologies, and positive psychology, Heartificial Intelligence provides the first values-driven approach to algorithmic living—a definitive roadmap to help humanity embrace the present and positively define their future. Each chapter opens with a fictional vignette, helping readers imagine how they would respond to various Artificial Intelligence scenarios while demonstrating the need to codify their values, as the algorithms dominating society today are already doing.
Funny, poignant, and accessible, this book paints a vivid portrait of how our lives might look in either a dystopia of robotic and corporate dominance, or a utopia where humans use technology to enhance our natural abilities to evolve into a long-lived, super-intelligent, and altruistic species.
About the Author
JOHN C. HAVENS is a TEDx speaker and a contributing writer for Mashable, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. He is the founder of the H(app)athon Project, a nonprofit organization "connecting happiness to action one phone, one heart, and one city at a time" through the use of interactive, sensor-based smartphone surveys. A former EVP for a top-ten global PR firm, he has counseled clients including Gillette, HP, and Merck on technology and social-media, and has been quoted on issues relating to tech, business, and well-being by USA Today, Fast Company, BBC News, Forbes, INC, PR Week, and Advertising Age. Havens was a professional actor in New York City for more than fifteen years, appearing in principal roles on Broadway, on television, and in film.
Praise for Heartificial Intelligence:
"In Heartificial Intelligence, John C. Havens introduces a realm of algorithms and smart machines well beyond anything you might know about. Geared toward presenting solutions that will help humankind control its destiny, Havens guides the way with sometimes-funny, sometimes-touching hypotheticals. Are you in charge of your own future? Maybe not, but there's still an opportunity to change that."
—Huffington Post Tech
"In this thoughtful addition to the genre...Havens warns that we have ignored an essential feature of machine thinking: its ethics...An astute philosophical meditation on a major problem facing designers of advanced computers."
"AI is going to happen whether we like it or not, so it's in our interest to ensure that ethics are included in its development…Havens's point is not to create a lengthy argument that tells everyone else how to think. Instead, he hopes to provoke each of us into finding our own answers to the questions he presents."
"A manifesto for bringing the humanity back to technology."
—Leo Laporte, TWit TV
"Havens is a smart, agile writer and, even better, exhibits a deep understanding of what irks people about our relationship to machines...among Havens's gifts is that he is excellent at distilling complex topics and introducing concepts that seem like the stuff of sci-fi fantasy films."
—Jacqueline Cutler, NJ.com
“Coexisting safely and ethically with intelligent machines is the central challenge of the twenty-first century. In the enjoyable Heartificial Intelligence, John Havens calls for resistance to the forces that erode our humanity in the age of the algorithm. Through detailed research, interviews, and engaging futuristic scenarios, Havens shows how establishing ethical standards for artificial intelligence will help us preserve the values we cherish most.”
—James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention
“Heartificial Intelligence is an excellent read! [Havens] explores a number of societal issues, which AI and robotics are likely to soon bring to prominence. A great guide to issues of identity, meaning, deception, and reality when our technology advances to the next level.”
—Steve Omohundro, President of Possibility Research, SelfAwareSystems.com
"With this exceptionally intelligent, playful, and brave book, John C. Havens shows us that we need to look the robot in the eye if we want to maintain our humanity. The most beautiful and yet most practical outlook on artificial intelligence you've ever read."
—Tim Leberecht, author of The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself
“As we come into realizing AI in different products, wearable devices, and self-driving cars, we need to think in a critical way on where this can bring us at an individual and societal level. Will it indeed help us move forward and create more time for ourselves, or will it make our world more complex and less efficient? Heartificial Intelligence provides insights from various perspectives on how this AI world could or will develop. It is a great read to start thinking about the different implications for AI and whether these are positive or negative.”
—Christel De Maeyer, blogger at SleepingWithTechnology.com and researcher at Artevelde University College, Belgium
“Heartificial Intelligence is an empowering resource with exclusive insights that allow us to discover a better understanding of why we do what we do to help us determine what's truly at stake in the fast-approaching age of artificial intelligence.”
—Josh Trent, Digital Health Coach, host of the Wellness Force Radio Podcast, and founder of WellnessForce.com
“John brings a uniquely human perspective to the quickly advancing world of artificial intelligence. He manages to ask critical questions while embracing the possibilities afforded by new technologies—avoiding sensationalism in favor of meaningful explorations of our relationship with AI.”
—Ramona Pringle, writer/director of Avatar Secrets and Assistant Professor at Ryerson University
"Heartificial Intelligence shows how intimately wedded we are to technology, and how the bond is just getting started. Providing an action plan around AI, John turns our dystopian fears into bright hope with wit, wisdom, and love."
—Damon Brown, entrepreneur and author of Our Virtual Shadow: Why We Are Obsessed with Documenting Our Lives Online (DamonBrown.net)
"Heartificial Intelligence is a powerful, passionate presentation of the fears and hopes of AI and robotics. It will challenge your existing beliefs and encourage you to act on them.”
—Tom Guarriello, Ph.D., founder of RoboPsych.com and TrueTalk.net
"Through pairing compelling fiction with contemporary research, Heartificial Intelligence encourages mindfulness in the age of the seemingly all-knowing algorithm."
—Ed Finn, director of Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University
Reviews for Hacking H(app)iness:
"The book certainly opens up an important conversation about how individuals can, and should, manage their data in an age of rapid advancements in personal technology. Mashable and Guardian contributing writer Havens provides a detailed defense of how developing technologies in augmented reality and wearable devices can increase happiness...An optimistic vision of how new technologies can be reimagined to increase productivity and personal growth."
“More than any time in human history, we have access to mountains of data about ourselves. Hacking H(app)iness is the first book to show us how to leverage this information as a path to happiness, rather than a source of misery.”
—Adam Grant, New York Times-bestselling author of Give and Take and Wharton professor
"Hacking H(app)iness is a mind boggling and optimistic vision of how new technologies can be reimagined to increase productivity and personal growth—and you don't have to be a geek to like it."
—Michael Port, New York Times-bestselling author of The Think Big Manifesto