Thursday’s guest blog: John Bailey on books


From two great, still-integral Australian minds comes Intelligence Unbound, The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds, bound neatly into 300 pages of 21 enlightening essays, two introductions and an afterword. The main topics explored are AI, mind uploading and whole-brain emulation, so be prepared for some philosophically discursive views. But what makes this volume so rewarding is its breadth of coverage. It is indispensable to anyone searching for clues on how things might turn out as AI gathers momentum and mind uploading becomes inevitable.

From How Conscience Apps and Caring Computers will Illuminate and Strengthen Human Morality, to Against Immortality: Why Death is Better than the Alternative, there is much in Intelligence Unbound to incite controversy about mind uploading and its consequences.

Apart from being a treasure trove for sci-fi writers looking for new storylines, Intelligence Unbound is eminently readable, enjoyable and expert in its reasoning. It is also much more than the sum of its parts: editors Russell Blackford (Philosopher and Conjoint Lecturer at the University of Newcastle, NSW) and Damien Broderick (PhD in the Literary Theory of the Sciences and Arts from Deakin University) have set out in their comprehensive introductions a clear indication of the enticing chapters to follow.

In bringing together such eminent practitioners as James Hughes, Executive Director of the Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies, bioethicist and sociologist at Trinity College, Hartford, and Michael Anissimov, previous manager of the Singularity Summit and Media Director for the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, the editors looked for and got the widest remit on AI, mind uploading and whole-brain emulation.

Relevant experts cover the ethical, philosophical as well as the prudential irrationality of mind uploading in some detail. Their contributions reveal much that is still to be considered about the desirability of a future populated by sub-human replicas. On the other hand as the editors state, it is easy to become trapped by old preconceptions, a trap they have successfully avoided by giving their contributors the widest of remits.

The result is that this collection of philosophers, theorists, futurists, AI researchers, and science-fiction writers offers readers the pros and cons of a variety of intriguing possibilities. Or at least sufficient options to get one’s own mind working – perhaps before it’s too late!

Go to publishers Wiley Blackwell for a description of the publication and its contents, and notes on its editors and contributors. For a further review, click here.


— Guest blogger John Bailey was for many years one of London’s best known journalists and spent most of his career in what was Fleet Street. He is an avid bibliophile and record collector, champion advocate for press freedom, and a student of history whose guided tours of London are known to and fondly recalled by exhausted walkers on all five continents.

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One thought on “Thursday’s guest blog: John Bailey on books”

  1. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have an android body? What about mind uploading? I do not believe that mind uploading will offer immortality or life extension because it will not actually be you. While it is a way to live on, you would just be able to see a new version of yourself from your old body. Even as an android, I imagine you may have difficulties. For instance, food and alcohol would not be the same. I have written a fictional story about a person who has uploaded his mind into a perfect android body. You would think he would be living in a dream. But he will find that his past will come back to haunt him. My story is called A New Self by Roy Wells. You can borrow the book for free if you have a Kindle and Amazon Prime. I hope you enjoy it!

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