Welcome to the New Year. 2018 was a pivotal year for GigaOm with significant growth in both our research and new media initiatives, and as we kick-start 2019 I’m excited to attend CES. There I will join nine notable authors who are invited to share their books as part of Gary’s Book Club at the CES event. Each year CTA president/CEO Gary Shapiro promotes what he considers the best technology-related books published in the previous year.

This year’s authors include Mark Mueller-Eberstein and Phil Klein, Heidi Forbes Öste, Ph.D., Frances West, Gary Shapiro, Charlie Fink, Kristen Gallerneaux, Kate O’Neill, John…


Note: The following is an excerpt from my new book The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity.

Imagine you own a pizza restaurant that employs one cook and one waiter. A fast-talking door-to-door robot salesman manages to sell you two robots: one designed to make pizzas and one designed to take orders and deliver pizzas to tables. All you have to do is preload the food containers with the appropriate ingredients, and head off to Bermuda. The robot waiter, who understands twenty languages, takes orders with amazing accuracy, and flawlessly handles special requests like “I…


Business quiz: What do these company name acronyms stand for: AT&T. 3M. NCR. Geico? Did you know them all? If so, well done. The answers: American Telephone & Telegraph, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, National Cash Register, and Government Employees Insurance Co.

Now, here’s the hard question: What do all these names have in common? Answer: None of them accurately express what those companies do today.

Think about that. Each of these companies had the good sense to follow new technologies and new business opportunities even if they were inconsistent with their very name.

Then, on the other hand, ask yourself…


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

The following is the preface from my new book, The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity. Available in print, ebook and audio formats. You can purchase the book here.

The Fourth Age explores the implications of automation and AI on humanity, and has been described by Ethernet inventor and 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe as framing “the deepest questions of our time in clear language that invites the reader to make their own choices. …


In 1993, Larry Landwehr wrote the following about the impact the Internet would have on society. Remember, this is 1993:

“It’s like trying to predict back in 1910 the impact of the automobile on society — the highway system, gasoline refineries, motels instead of hotels, new dating patterns, increased social mobility, commuting to work, the importance of the rubber industry, smog, drive-thru restaurants, mechanized warfare, and on and on. The net will bring more than quantitative changes, it will bring “qualitative” changes. Things that were impossible will now become inevitable.”

Landwehr is right. Making those predictions in 1910 would have…


Interviewed: Dec. 6, 2016

As the publisher of Gigaom, I recently had the opportunity to interview Rob May on intelligent information delivery and artificial intelligence. May is the CEO and Co-Founder of Talla, a platform for intelligent information delivery in Slack and Hipchat, and the creator and writer of the widely-read and highly-regarded AI newsletter, Technically Sentient. We discussed the current state of AI, the timeline and hurdles of AGI, business, economic and ethical implications, and investment opportunities. The full interview is as follows:

Byron Reese: How did you first come to get involved with AI?

Rob May: I was…


Originally Published on Gigaom by Byron Reese Jun 12, 2017–7:06 AM CDT

Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are the two most compelling products in the new smart-speaker market. It’s a fascinating space to watch, for it is of substantial strategic importance to both companies as well as several more that will enter the fray soon. Why is this? Whatever device you outfit your home with will influence many downstream purchasing decisions, from automation hardware to digital media and even to where you order dog food. …


According to “1984,” surveillance technology is in nearly every home and workplace by the year 1984 — with two-way telescreens and hidden microphones to monitor the activities of individuals. This is so pervasive that in the book it is predicted that by 2050, “New Speak” will have completely replaced “Old Speak.”

This book written in the 1940s envisioned a dystopian future and a lack of civil liberty. Is that future possible? Does technology on balance promote liberty or tyranny? Does it empower the state or the individual more?

Orwell was quite political and, at the same time he was writing…


This photo is from the website of the innovative and original Todd McLellan.

The Spotmatic camera (shown disassembled in McLellan’s work) was introduced by Asahi in 1964 and was the first successful camera with “through-the-lens” light metering. The camera was entirely mechanical apart from the light meter. The system became the workhorse of many professionals of the time.

Look at the complexity of it! Apart from having to assemble one, imagine designing one. Imagine sourcing the parts. Imagine making each of the parts: mining the iron ore, smelting it into steel, machining the steel into camera components. Just think about that! …


In the ancient world, it used to be that different cities or regions would have an oracle to whom people could go and ask a question. The most famous of these was the Oracle at Delphi. There was once a king, King Croesus, who ruled Lydia (near present-day Turkey) around 550 B.C. He was intrigued by all of these oracles around the world. So he commissioned seven emissaries to go out to seven certain oracles around the world and on a predetermined day, let’s say July 12, at a predetermined time, say 3:00 p.m. …

Byron Reese

CEO of JJKent, futurist, technologist, speaker and author of “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity.”

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