Nada Sanders and John Wood’s book The Humachine: Humankind, Machines, and The Future of Enterprise takes a comprehensive look at the growing application of artificial intelligence in the business world from a multi-layered perspective. Sanders and Wood are grounded, respectively in schools of thought regarding business and legal matters, but their research and experience into this subject shape The Humachine into a reading experience that is, in turns, instructive and informative. The book, moreover, pushes back against the doom and gloom narrative dominating much of the writing to date on this subject without acting as a blind cheerleader for the cause; Sanders and Wood whitewash nothing. The Humachine is an even-handed work with great depth that never tests the reader’s patience or talks down to them; instead, it engages readers on an important subject with intelligence and insight while maintaining a conversational prose style throughout the entirety of the book.


Co-authored books can be fascinating reading experiences. Different examples of the practice adopt varying methods; some clearly delineate when one writer stops and another begins. Others, like The Humachine, do not. The writing, however, never reads disjointed and the authors made it a clear priority to merge their voices into a seamless whole that never betrays the presence of either writer. Wood and Sanders speak with one voice throughout the entirety of the book and The Humachine is a stronger reading experience for it.


They reflect this, as well, in how they present the book for readers. The table of contents is extensive but that’s because Sanders and Wood addressing a cornucopia of topics under the larger heading of AI, i.e. human limitations, AI’s restrictions, the flowering of new legal concerns, etc, in a focused yet all-encompassing way. Despite the brevity of individual chapters, readers will never feel short changed by the book. There are many thorny issues set to arise with the increased presence of AI in human endeavor and the writers attempt to address them all without ballooning the text to an unmanageable length for readers.


A notable difference between The Humachine and other books on the subject is how little Sanders and Wood incorporate illustrations into the text. It, naturally, makes the appearance of such devices all the more meaningful when they occur, but it likewise forces readers to pay more attention to the text rather than relying on diagrams and other illustrations to make shorthand of the larger subjects at hand. There is a tremendous amount of meaningful research and practical experience fueling Nada Sanders and John Wood’s The Humachine: Humankind, Machines, and The Future of Enterprise that makes it one of the formative texts on the subject yet to emerge from any publisher. The book is a quick yet never shallow read and one you can return to multiple times without feeling like you are retracing your steps for no reason. It will likely hold that position for some time to come and provides a valuable reference for those interested in considering the ramifications and implications of AI’s blossoming power in human society.

Garth Thomas