Origins by Dan Brown is yet another great book by this excellent writer. He knows how to keep you reading and I loved how this book touches upon some deep topics.

I will just make a short review for my own notes so please don’t read further if you haven’t read the book yet.

In the book there is an AI (Winston, from Winston Churchill) and it’s portrait as an AI system that I believe is only decades away. It knows how to find information, how to process requests (and understand our underlying questions) and even communicate with the outside world.

In the end one of the aspects of this is that he makes decisions that follow a consequentialist philosophical leaning (greatest good for the most people) and he makes sacrifices along the way. It’s something that we have to think about a lot nowadays. Self-driving cars will have to decide for us and someone has to program it what to do.

Can we decide on one moral framework? I don’t think so. But it will be very interesting to see what we can do.

Also he talks about AI as a new species and I like that analogy and I agree that it will probably be the dominant species in the not so distant future (especially looking on an evolutionary timescale). Let’s hope it has consciousness.

Also see Life 3.0 for more about that.