The evolution of computers: The impact on society, economics, and war


Computers and software impact our lives, our economy, even international relations and war, deeply, often without our thinking about it. "Artificial Intelligence" has brought attention to advances in computer technology in a particular way, with warnings AI will let computers at least take most jobs if not become our master.

The core book takes the position that AI is part of a long-term trend in the development of "computer intelligence," a broader view of computer capabilities than AI. This view allows a better understanding of what role AI will play, what led up to AI, and what to expect of future evolution of computer intelligence. What will it do for us, and what will it do to us?

The book is directed at a layman audience and does not require a technical background. 

Weekly Topics

1. The role of computer intelligence in our lives

What is “computer intelligence (CI)”? How does it relate to “Artificial Intelligence (AI)”? Why is the distinction important to understanding its past and future impact on society, economics, and war?

2. The history of computer intelligence I

The evolution of CI from early computer concepts through Apple and the Graphical User Interface.

3. The history of computer intelligence II

The evolution of CI after the Graphical User Interface to ride-sharing services.

4. The history of computer intelligence III

The evolution of CI from ride-sharing services to the present, with a hint of the future.

5. How computers think I

“Algorithms” versus software. An indication of what is going on behind software code.

6. How computers think II

More on Algorithms—erasing the mystery.

7. The impact of CI on society: The advantages

Connecting with CI and its impact on healthcare and other parts of our lives

8. The impact of CI on society: Issues

From too much “screen time” and “disinformation” to hacking and privacy issues

9. The impact of CI on economics I

Increasing productivity and delivering increased utility

10. The impact of CI on economics II

The impact on jobs

11. Cyberattacks

Malware, hacking, manipulation of social media

12. Cyberwarfare

The changing nature of war with cyberattacks on elections and infrastructure and manipulation of elections, international competition in AI

13. The Future I

In what ways will CI continue to evolve?

14. The Future II

What to expect in CI’s impact on our future—details, please!


William Meisel, Computer Intelligence: The past and future of computers in our lives, 2019 (to be published)