About the Book
Book: Soulful: You in the Future of Artificial Intelligence
Author: David Espindola
Release Date: May 22, 2023
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has hit an inflection point – ChatGPT has popularized its use. The implications are staggering. Machines are gradually but relentlessly encroaching on what was once believed to be the exclusive realm of tasks performed by humans. The displacement of jobs and consequent technical unemployment is inescapable. But those who can collaborate with AI will be highly rewarded.
Soulful describes the proliferation of AI and its broad implications for the world of work and society in easy-to-understand language. It explains how Human-AI collaboration will increase productivity in Education, Healthcare, Science, Manufacturing, Service, and many other areas. The book discusses the human condition, what motivates and sets us apart from robots, and how to use our intuition to collaborate with AI. It teaches how to identify and develop unique human capabilities and skills that will be highly valued in the future, such as empathy and lateral thinking.
The book explains how increased productivity due to AI and a new creation-based production system could generate abundance, changing how we think about the economy and the meaning of work. In addition to abundance, we could benefit from technology’s unstoppable deflationary force, which may lower the cost of our basic needs – energy, food, communications, transport, education, housing, and healthcare – so that most humans could potentially enjoy a high-quality, low-cost living standard. It also considers the challenges in crossing the chasm between the current realities of inequality, environmental degradation, and economic uncertainty to this new environment where humanity could benefit from the sustainable production of abundance.
Soulful examines threats and opportunities from the advancement of AI and instigates deep reflections and thought-provoking discussions that will open the readers’ minds to new possibilities, preparing us to enter this unfamiliar territory. It provides new insights and investigations from multiple domains, including technology, neuroscience, social psychology, economics, philosophy, and theology. It concludes with a discussion about the soul – the uniquely human trait that is difficult to describe and impossible to impart to machines.
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About the Author
David Espindola is a technologist, strategist, futurist, and advisor to business, nonprofits, and academia. As a former Chief Information Officer and consultant to world-renowned organizations, he has developed a keen understanding of technology trends and their impact on business and society.
David is the Founder of Brainyus, a company that applies the principles of Transformative Purpose, Lifelong Learning, and Servant Leadership to transform organizations and individuals. Additionally, he serves as a member of the Advisory Board at the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute (TLI).
David is the coauthor of The Exponential Era: Strategies to Stay Ahead of the Curve in an Era of Chaotic Changes and Disruptive Forces (Wiley/IEEE Press), published in December 2020. In the book, he explains the impact of exponential growth, describes several technology platforms that are converging to create the Exponential Era, and provides a detailed, practical strategic planning methodology to help companies succeed in these unprecedented times.
You can learn more about the author on his website: DavidEspindola.com.
More from David
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all the rage these days. Until recently, AI was only a topic of conversation within academic or high-tech company circles. But after the advent of ChatGPT, AI has captured the attention and imagination of the average person, as well as business people and legislators worried about its impact on our future.
In its current stage, AI is designated as narrow or weak because, despite its ability to do a few things better than humans, it does not have the general intellectual capabilities that we possess. The next stage, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), is the holy grail of computer science. It is debatable if and when we will reach the AGI stage, but if we do, it won’t be long before machines become superintelligent (ASI).
We learn from the bible that when God created the world, he had a particular role in mind for humankind:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”
No other species has been gifted with the same intellectual capacity and communication skills as human beings, and this unique trait has empowered us to rule over all the animals and control the resources around us. But now, for the first time in history, a new “entity” known as Artificial Intelligence portends to take away the superior intelligence that gave us the ability to dominate the world.
Does this mean we will lose our superiority and control? Will the machines rule over all the earth’s animals, including us? The answer to this question will depend on your beliefs. Suppose you believe that human beings are organic matter driven by electric pulses and chemical reactions in our brains and that this powers our intelligence and consciousness. In that case, it is easy to conclude that superintelligent machines will overcome our superiority and rule the world. After all, machines are made of the same atoms and molecules, whether organic or not, so the only thing that differentiates them from us is their superior intelligence.
But if you believe human beings are more than organic matter — that we are spiritual beings designed by God for a specific role as described in Genesis — then the idea that machines will develop consciousness and the desire to rule the world loses its plea. According to the Christian faith, humans are much more than flesh and bones automatons programmed by DNA and driven by neurochemicals and electric pulses. God gave us a soul, an essential core of our being.
Some neuroscientists believe there is nothing beyond our brains, but if so, would superior “brains,” as in superintelligent machines, be more precious than human lives? Deep inside, we all know the answer to this question, but unless we are open to the possibility that there is more to us than physical matter, it becomes very difficult to explain why. Artificial intelligence is forcing us to ponder the age-old question that philosophers and theologians have considered: What does it mean to be human?
Soulful examines threats and opportunities from the advancement of AI and instigates deep reflections and thought-provoking discussions that will open the readers’ minds to new possibilities, preparing us to enter this unfamiliar territory. It provides practical advice to help the readers do well in a world surrounded by AI and offers a spiritual perspective to help answer the most profound questions we have been asking for thousands of years.
Interview with David
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I find writing to be very energizing once I get going. Writing puts me in flow. I love it when ideas keep popping in my head and start to take shape in an organized and cohesive manner in the form of writing. But as authors know, writing is only one part of publishing a book and I must confess that I do not enjoy the rest of the publishing process. I get through it because it is very satisfying to see the project completed, but it requires a lot of discipline, patience, and attention to detail.
How did writing this book grow you spiritually?
This book is particularly important to me spiritually because, even though it deals with a secular subject—the advancement of AI—it forces us to ask the big questions: Who are we? If we can create an entity that is just as intelligent, or perhaps even more intelligent than humans, how are we different? Unless you accept the idea that we are more than just electric pulses and chemical reactions in our brains, it becomes difficult to differentiate us from intelligent machines. But if you believe we are spiritual beings, then you can create a framework that explains why we are so special. Paradoxically, thinking about a mundane topic such as AI has helped me reaffirm my belief that we have a soul given to us by our creator.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to ride my bike, walk in nature, and go standup paddle boarding. I am also an avid soccer player, and I am grateful that even in my older age I am still able to play.
Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
Most readers wouldn’t know that English is not my first language (unless they spoke to me and detected my accent). I was born and raised in Brazil and received an academic scholarship to study in the US. I ended up meeting my wife in college, and despite my original plans to go back to Brazil after college, I ended up staying, raising a family, and making the US my new home.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Steven Kotler and several of his books, including Abundance and The Art of Impossible. I was also influenced by David Epstein and his book Range. These are very talented writers that have the gift of storytelling, turning mundane subjects into page-turners that are very enjoyable to read.
Thank you for letting us get to know you better!
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To celebrate her tour, David is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.