OUR FINAL INVENTION
I was fascinated by this book written by our good friend, James Barrat. I read it back in 2013.
- Elon Musk named Our Final Invention one of 5 books everyone should read about the future
- A Huffington Post Definitive Tech Book of 2013
Artificial Intelligence helps choose what books you buy, what movies you see, and even who you date. It puts the “smart” in your smartphone and soon it will drive your car. It makes most of the trades on Wall Street, and controls vital energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. But Artificial Intelligence can also threaten our existence.
In as little as a decade, AI could match and then surpass human intelligence. Corporations and government agencies are pouring billions into achieving AI’s Holy Grail―human-level intelligence. Once AI has attained it, scientists argue, it will have survival drives much like our own. We may be forced to compete with a rival more cunning, more powerful, and more alien than we can imagine.
Through profiles of tech visionaries, industry watchdogs, and groundbreaking AI systems, Our Final Invention explores the perils of the heedless pursuit of advanced AI. Until now, human intelligence has had no rival. Can we coexist with beings whose intelligence dwarfs our own? And will they allow us to?
Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era is a 2013 non-fiction book by the American author James Barrat. The book discusses the potential benefits and possible risks of human-level or super-human artificial intelligence. Those supposed risks include extermination of the human race.
James Barrat weaves together explanations of AI concepts, AI history, and interviews with prominent AI researchers including Eliezer Yudkowsky and Ray Kurzweil. The book starts with an account of how an artificial general intelligence could become an artificial super-intelligence through recursive self-improvement. In subsequent chapters, the book covers the history of AI, including an account of the work done by I. J. Good, up to the work and ideas of researchers in the field today.
Throughout the book, Barrat takes a cautionary tone, focusing on the threats artificial super-intelligence poses to human existence. Barrat emphasizes how difficult it would be to control or even to predict the actions of something that may become orders of magnitude more intelligent than the most intelligent humans.