Dancing With Robots by Bill Bishop

In Dancing with Robots: The 29 Strategies for Success in the Age of AI and Automation, author Bill Bishop offers, as the subtitle promises, 29 ways we as humans can optimize our quality of life and our business success in the era of artificial intelligence. Under the umbrella of robots and AI, Bishop includes artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, the Internet of Things, and quantum computing as well as what we might traditionally consider as “robots.”

Bishop’s use of examples, pop culture references, and personal anecdotes to support his points keeps the material relatable and makes for an enjoyable read. “Afterword—Tentacles” at the end of the book provides a fictional, but chillingly plausible, look at the perils of unthinkingly embracing the latest and greatest when it comes to technology.

While some of the chapters seem more pertinent to business leaders and entrepreneurs, many of the sections contain advice that relates to readers’ everyday lives. The chapter titled “Strategy No. 11: Tame our Algorithms” is one of the most powerful, containing as it does many examples of the ways in which AI can influence our choices and our ways of thinking. Bishop points out the inherent dangers in relying too much on algorithms, particularly when they operate as a “black box.” He also discusses the ways in which algorithms support the development of “belief bubbles” in social media, and the ways in which they can perpetuate existing social biases. His advice for concerned citizens is as follows:

“find out what algorithms are being used by the government, schools, and courts. Learn how these algorithms affect the community. Are they helpful? Are they fair? Do they make decisions humans should make? Do the citizenry have access to how the algorithms work?” (p. 77)

In the chapter titled “Strategy No. 10: Embrace Radical Reality,” Bishop notes:

“We’re entering a future where it will be increasingly difficult to discern what’s true from what isn’t. Our reality will be shaped more and more by what we experience in the digital world where a lot of what we consume will be fake.” (p. 69)

While some of what Bishop says is sobering or even frightening, he also offers reassurance. The future will only be bleak if we make the wrong choices. As human beings, we have some unique traits that can help us navigate and thrive in a world increasingly steeped in technology. If we use these unique traits, we can shape a future in which artificial intelligences complements human endeavours. By focussing on what Bishop refers to as the “five human superpowers,” we can not only survive, but thrive, in a world that is increasingly influenced by artificial intelligence.

Dancing with Robots isn’t Bishop’s first book. He has, in fact, written ten of them, including The New Factory Thinker and Global Marketing for the Digital Age. In addition to his writing career, Bishop has given a number of speeches. Sadly, at these talks, he’s discovered that “90 percent of the population isn’t prepared for what’s coming.” (p. 7)

As Bishop notes, “We must face reality. The robots are coming. They’re already here and they’re not going away.” (p. 188) It’s important to approach the future with open eyes if we want to assert some control over it. To that end, Dancing with Robots provides food for thought, as well as some strategies for shaping a world in which humans harness artificial intelligence to their benefit, rather than the other way around.

Bill Bishop is a futurist, entrepreneur, author, and keynote speaker. He is the CEO of The BIG Idea Company, an innovation coaching company based in Toronto, and also the founder of The New Economy Network, a global network of business people who are passionate about the new economy.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Dundurn Press (Feb. 15 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 232 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1459749022
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1459749023

Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. Her writing has appeared in New Myths, Star*Line, The Future Fire, Triangulation: Habitats, and other venues. Lisa’s speculative haibun collection, In Days to Come, is available from Hiraeth Publishing. You can find out more about Lisa’s writing at http://lisatimpf.blogspot.com/.