The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity

Byron Reese

“The Fourth Age not only discusses what the rise of A.I. will mean for us, it also forces readers to challenge their preconceptions. And it manages to do all this in a way that is both entertaining and engaging.” —The New York Times

As we approach a great turning point in history when technology is poised to redefine what it means to be human, The Fourth Age offers fascinating insight into AI, robotics, and their extraordinary implications for our species.

In The Fourth Age, Byron Reese makes the case that technology has reshaped humanity just three times in history:

– 100,000 years ago, we harnessed fire, which led to language.

– 10,000 years ago, we developed agriculture, which led to cities and warfare.

– 5,000 years ago, we invented the wheel and writing, which lead to the nation state.

We are now on the doorstep of a fourth change brought about by two technologies: AI and robotics. The Fourth Age provides extraordinary background information on how we got to this point, and how—rather than what—we should think about the topics we’ll soon all be facing: machine consciousness, automation, employment, creative computers, radical life extension, artificial life, AI ethics, the future of warfare, superintelligence, and the implications of extreme prosperity.

By asking questions like “Are you a machine?” and “Could a computer feel anything?”, Reese leads you through a discussion along the cutting edge in robotics and AI, and, provides a framework by which we can all understand, discuss, and act on the issues of the Fourth Age, and how they’ll transform humanity.

About Bryon

Byron has been building and running Internet and software companies for twenty years and has obtained / has pending patents in disciplines as varied as crowdsourcing, content creation and psychographics.

Of the five companies he either started or joined early, two went public, two were sold, and one resulted in a merger. Credited with “quietly pioneering a new breed of media company,” Reese Reese is the former CEO of Hot Data (sold to Pitney Bowes) as well as PageWise (sold to Demand Media). He is currently the CEO of Gigaom and the host of the Voices in AI podcast.

Bloomberg Businessweek credits Byron with having “quietly pioneered a new breed of media company.” Wired Magazine describes him as “a tall Texan who created the idea-spawning algorithm that lies at the heart of Demand’s process.” The Financial Times of London reported that he “is typical of the new wave of internet entrepreneurs out to turn the economics of the media industry on its head.” And Business Insider concluded that Byron “seems like a kooky – and awesome guy… We’d love to buy him a beer.”

Read Byron’s latest blog over in the news section.