4 key books to help you understand Artificial Intelligence

The Atlas of AI, Kate Crawford (2021)

“The Atlas of AI” by Kate Crawford examines how artificial intelligence (AI) shapes our world, particularly regarding the AI industry’s broader social and economic context. She uses the metaphor of an atlas to describe the landscape in which AI is produced. Crawford, a leading AI researcher and scholar (and musician and artist). Originally from Sydney and Canberra, she now lives in New York. I know her from the B(if)tek days.

Crawford takes readers on a journey through the history of AI, from its earliest origins to the present day, highlighting the key developments and innovations that have led to the field’s current state. Crawford also provides a detailed examination of the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding AI, including topics such as bias and accountability.

The book is noteworthy for its attention to the impact of AI on marginalised communities and low-income populations. Crawford argues that these groups are disproportionately affected by the negative consequences of AI and that it is crucial to consider their perspectives in developing and deploying AI technologies.

Wikipedia Contributors. Kate Crawford. Wikipedia. Published October 28, 2022. Accessed January 25, 2023. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Crawford#/media/File:Kate_Crawford_by_flickr_user_andresmh.jpg

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark (2017)

“Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark is a valuable addition to the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence (AI) literature. The book provides a comprehensive and multidisciplinary examination of the implications of AI surpassing human intelligence and the ethical considerations that must be considered as we move towards this reality.

One of the book’s strengths is Tegmark’s ability to provide a thorough overview of the current state of AI research, its potential trajectory of development, and the implications of such advancements. He draws on his background in physics and AI research to provide a nuanced understanding of the technical aspects of AI, making the book accessible to a wide range of academic audiences. Additionally, the author offers a detailed analysis of the various perspectives on the future of AI, including the potential benefits and drawbacks of superintelligent machines and the ethical considerations surrounding such advancements.

Tegmark also addresses the potential societal implications of AI, including job displacement, economic inequality, and the need for international cooperation and regulation in the development and use of AI. He argues that proactive steps must be taken to ensure that the benefits of AI are distributed fairly and that the negative consequences are mitigated. This is a significant contribution to the existing literature on the ethics of AI, as it highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to the governance and regulation of AI.

One of the book’s most exciting aspects is Tegmark’s discussion of the possibility of creating a “friendly” AI, which would be aligned with human values and goals. He explores the challenges and potential solutions for achieving this, including the need for transparency and explainability in AI systems and the importance of incorporating diverse perspectives in the design and development of AI. This is a crucial contribution to the existing literature on the ethics of AI, as it highlights the need for responsible and inclusive AI design.

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom (2014)

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom is a thought-provoking and insightful book that delves into the potential implications of artificial intelligence on humanity. The book explores the idea of a superintelligent AI, which is an AI that is significantly more intelligent than any human, and the potential consequences of such an AI’s existence.

One of the book’s central themes is the concept of a “control problem,” ensuring that a superintelligent AI remains aligned with human values and goals. Bostrom argues that this is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed before any superintelligent AI is developed, as an AI not aligned with human values could potentially pose a significant threat to humanity.

Another important theme of the book is the idea of “existential risks,” which could potentially lead to the extinction of human civilisation. Bostrom argues that developing a superintelligent AI could pose such a risk and that it is, therefore, important for researchers and policymakers to take proactive measures to minimise these risks.

One of the strengths of Superintelligence is Bostrom’s ability to present complex ideas in a clear and accessible manner. He provides a thorough overview of the current state of AI research and a detailed analysis of the potential implications of a superintelligent AI. The book is also well-researched, and Bostrom draws on many sources to support his arguments.

Overall, Superintelligence is an essential and thought-provoking book that contributes to the ongoing debate about the future of AI. It is a must-read for anyone interested in AI, machine learning, and the future of humanity.

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI by John Brockman (editor) 2019

Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI, edited by John Brockman, is a thought-provoking collection of essays exploring artificial intelligence’s current and future possibilities. The book features contributions from a diverse group of experts in the field, including computer scientists, philosophers, economists, and cognitive psychologists.

One of the standout features of the book is the breadth of perspectives represented. Each essay offers a unique perspective on AI, from its technical capabilities and limitations to its ethical and societal implications. This diversity of viewpoints allows for a well-rounded understanding of the topic, highlighting AI’s potential benefits and risks.

One of the key themes that emerge from the book is the importance of human-AI collaboration. Many authors argue that AI should be viewed as a tool to augment human capabilities rather than as a replacement for human intelligence. This perspective is especially relevant in light of the rapid advancements in AI technology and its increasing role in various aspects of our lives.

Another important theme is the need for responsible and ethical use of AI. The authors discuss the potential risks of AI, such as job displacement, privacy concerns, and the possibility of creating biased or unfair systems. They also explore the need for regulations and governance to ensure that AI is developed and used to benefit society.

Possible Minds provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of AI and its potential future developments. It is an excellent resource for anyone interested in understanding the implications of this rapidly-evolving technology.



Leave a Reply