Well, this is terrifying… A look at AI (the history, what’s going on now, and a look into the future)
5 out of 5 stars
Before you jump into this review I want to preface it by saying that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the “partner” book to this Pandora’s Brain.
Surviving AI is a quick non-fiction book that is full of interesting facts, quotes and overall impressions of Artificial Intelligence and the other forms that are included in the AI “bubble” that is soon to exist. This book (I believe) was written as a “behind-the-scenes” look at the actual facts behind his book Pandora’s Brain.
I was incredibly pleased when I saw that Chace decided to work with narrator Joe Hempel who narrated Pandora’s Brain for him. Joe’s tackling of this hard-hitting but quickly paced non-fiction book was perfect. There were sentences within this book that I don’t want to know HOW many times Hempel had to go through to get them right – but the finished product is perfect. Now, the audio version of this book may be a lot to take in (especially if you’re not an auditory learner – thankfully I am), but the audio really helps readers power through some of the languages that Chace uses. The quality of the audio is perfect, studio quality with no sound issues at all throughout.
The book was quick and to the point which makes me happy. Chace could have written a 1000 page (24 hour) book on this topic. He could have talked to more scientists and futurists. He could have done a lot more, but it wouldn’t have added to the book. I think that he meant this to be a quick in-and-out take on what is going on in the AI world right now, give a little history, and try and tell us what bright minds think the future may hold.
This book wasn’t written like a textbook (thank god), he gives one or two examples for each topic and moves on. Not spending too much time overthinking or explaining things. I think that this book could be picked up by someone with little-to-no knowledge on AI, and leave with some quotes and some working knowledge of what AI is (or will become). That is the sign of a well-written non-fiction book.
This book left me feeling—eager for a better word. There were a few sections that had me shaking, and others that gave me a lot of hope. I really hope that we can get a handle on the forms of AI that are in our near future. Because if we don’t, as Calum describes… it doesn’t look good for us humans.
Artificial intelligence is our most powerful technology and, in the coming decades, it’ll change everything in our lives. If we get it right, it’ll make humans almost godlike. If we get it wrong…well, extinction is not the worst possible outcome.
Surviving AI is a concise, easy guide to what’s coming, taking you through technological unemployment (the economic singularity) and the possible creation of a superintelligence (the technological singularity).
Calum Chace studied philosophy at Oxford University, where he discovered that the science fiction he had been reading since boyhood is actually philosophy in fancy dress.
He is co-author of The Internet Startup Bible, a business best-seller published by Random House in 2000. He is a regular speaker on artificial intelligence and related technologies and runs a blog on the subject at www.pandoras-brain.com.
Prior to writing Pandora’s Brain, Calum had a 30-year career in business, in which he was a marketer, a strategy consultant and a CEO. He maintains his interest in business by running a small property business and serving as chairman and coach for growing companies.
He lives in London and Sussex with his partner, a director of a design school, and their daughter.