Nada Sanders and John Wood’s “The Humachine”

Clocking in at a little under three hundred pages in its digital edition, Nada Sanders and John Wood’s The Humachine: Humankind, Machines, and The Future of Enterprise does an impressive job of taking on one of the pivotal topics facing the business world and humanity at large as we approach the third decade of this new century – the growing presence of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives and transactions. Such an enormous topic would seem to demand a longer length, but Wood and Sanders prove adept at focusing and condensing their material on relevant matters avoiding any of the sideshows and digressions marring other works on the topic. They approach the subject from a variety of viewpoints and each one will strike familiar notes for readers versed in the subject as well as revealing new layers or sides of the issues they have hitherto not considered. This is a formative work about a dawning revolution and will be read for years to come.


I am an admirer of the way the authors built this book. An experienced educational professional and an attorney possess a wont for making their arguments in a coherent and linear fashion and doing so with a subject as fraught with complex as AI seems obvious. Sanders and Wood divide The Humachine into nine parts with many sections covered within each one. The opening part sets the stage and the final part consists of concluding reflections on the subject and the book’s contents.

The writers, I think, structure it as an extended lecture in a sense – another less than surprising development. However, it isn’t a dull and uneventful reading experience. Wood and Sanders engage the issues at hand with rigorous intelligence and an obvious passion for the topics they are discussing. They didn’t throw this book together; it is the obvious product of extensive reading and research and the prose has a gripping physical quality that keeps readers involved throughout.

It is worth noting, as well, that Sanders and Wood avoid any of the negativity often characterizing other books on this subject. Many writers seem to regard the approaching era of AI as a “Terminator” style apocalypse in the making with humanity ceding control of its destiny to ever more powerful machines. Or else they imagine us, in a less cinematic way, ceding our core values as a species in service to greater automation and profit margins.


Sanders and Wood do not view the growing influence of AI as an Utopia in the making for humankind, they do acknowledge the difficulties many businesses and society as a whole already faces in bringing our humanity in accord with technological advancement, but nor do they see a wildly Dystopian outcome as a foregone conclusion. The level of nuance and insight that defines The Humachine: Humankind, Machines, and The Future of Enterprise will challenge readers and provides us with a clear and well-organized glimpse into the future. It does so in a balanced way that helps ensure this book will remain relevant for years to come.

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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