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The next great technological disruption is coming
The titans of Silicon Valley are racing to build the last, best computer that the world will ever need. They know that whoever successfully creates it will revolutionize our relationship with technology—and make billions of dollars in the process. They call it conversational AI.
Computers that can speak and think like humans may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but they are rapidly moving toward reality. In Talk to Me, veteran tech journalist James Vlahos meets the researchers at Amazon, Google, and Apple who are leading the way. He explores how voice tech will transform every sector of society: handing untold new powers to businesses, overturning traditional notions of privacy, upending how we access information, and fundamentally altering the way we understand human consciousness. And he even tries to understand the significance of the voice-computing revolution first-hand — by building a chatbot version of his terminally ill father.
Vlahos’s research leads him to one fundamental question: What happens when our computers become as articulate, compassionate, and creative as we are?
About the Author
JAMES VLAHOS covers the frontiers of technological change for publications like Wired, the New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, and Scientific American; he also writes for The Atlantic and GQ. In 2017 he engineered a chatbot that helps preserve the personality and tell the life story of his late father, a project that resulted in a Wired cover story and attracted attention from around the world. He lives in El Cerrito, California.
"Journalist Vlahos explores the increasingly ubiquitous presence of voice computing in his thought-provoking debut. Readers will finish this timely book with a newfound appreciation for, and perhaps some apprehension toward, their favorite voice bot and the technological marvel it represents."
“Voice computing will profoundly reshape the way humans relate to machines, and Talk to Me is a brilliant and essential guide to what's coming. James Vlahos understands how the technology works and all the complex things it will bring into the world—and he's a superb writer too. You'll find insights and meaning on every page, and you'll keep turning them. This book is dynamite.”
—Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief, WIRED
"Conversational AI is a genuine paradigm shift in our experience with technology. Vlahos brings the whole story to life, from big picture historical context to the impact on our intimate personal lives. A thoughtful and enjoyable read."
—Tom Gruber, co-creator of Siri
“James Vlahos has written an excellent book on how voice computing has become more and more of a growing presence in our everyday world. In Talk to Me, he provides the promise and peril of this development.”
—Ray Kurzweil, Inventor, Author, and Futurist
“In Talk to Me, Vlahos presents a deep analysis of how voice computing and AI are entering nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives. From the technology to the artistry involved, if you want to understand how we got here and where we’re going next, or if you just want to learn more about the voice revolution happening to all of us, this is a must read.”
—Oren Jacob, Co-Founder and CEO, PullString
“The baton of disruption has been passed from the smart phone to voice, and Vlahos helps make sense of this tectonic shift.”
—Scott Galloway, author of the bestseller The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google
"Voice computing is revolutionizing the way we interact with our devices. Talk to Me offers a road map showing how we got to this point and the opportunities and risks that lie ahead as machines begin to converse with us in ways that seem ever more human."
—Martin Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Rise of the Robots and Architects of Intelligence