The Age of Em

The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth is a 2016 nonfiction book released by Robin Hanson.[1] It explores the implications of a future world in which researchers haven’t created artificial general intelligence but have learned to copy humans onto computers, creating “ems,” or emulated people, who quickly come to outnumber the real ones.[2][3][4]

There have been three human eras so far: foragers, farmers, and industry. The next era is likely to arise from artificial intelligence in the form of brain emulations, sometime in the next century or so. This book paints a detailed picture of this new era

The Age of Em

The book's main scenario proposes that in about a hundred years from now, human brains will be scanned at "fine enough spatial and chemical resolution," and combined with rough models of signal-processing functions of brain cells, "to create a cell-by-cell dynamically executable model of the full brain in artificial hardware, a model whose signal input-output behavior is usefully close to that of the original brain."[5]

See also


  1. The Age of Em, ISBN 978-0-19-875462-6
  2. "What Are the Odds We Are Living in a Computer Simulation? - The New Yorker". Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  3. Poole, Steven (15 June 2016). "The Age of Em review – the horrific future when robots rule the Earth". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  4. Baum, Seth (21 March 2017). "The Social Science of Computerized Brains – Review of The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life When Robots Rule the Earth by Robin Hanson". Futures. 90: 61–63. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2017.03.005.
  5. "Is This Economist Too Far Ahead of His Time?". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 16 October 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2017.

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