Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era Hardcover – Oct 1 2013
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“A hard-hitting book about the most important topic of this century and possibly beyond -- the issue of whether our species can survive. I wish it was science fiction but I know it's not.” ―Jaan Tallinn, co-founder of Skype
“The compelling story of humanity's most critical challenge. A Silent Spring for the twenty-first century.” ―Michael Vassar, former President, Singularity Institute
“Barrat's book is excellently written and deeply researched. It does a great job of communicating to general readers the danger of mistakes in AI design and implementation.” ―Bill Hibbard, author of Super-Intelligent Machines
“An important and disturbing book.” ―Huw Price, co-founder, Cambridge University Center for the Study of Existential Risk
“Our Final Invention is a thrilling detective story, and also the best book yet written on the most important problem of the twenty-first century.” ―Luke Muehlhauser, Executive Director, Machine Intelligence Research Institute
“Enthusiasts dominate observers of progress in artificial intelligence; the minority who disagree are alarmed, articulate and perhaps growing in numbers, and Barrat delivers a thoughtful account of their worries.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Science fiction has long explored the implications of humanlike machines (think of Asimov's I, Robot), but Barrat's thoughtful treatment adds a dose of reality.” ―Science News
“This book makes an important case that without extraordinary care in our planning, powerful ‘thinking' machines present at least as many risks as benefits. … Our Final Invention makes an excellent read for technophiles as well as readers wishing to get a glimpse of the near future as colored by rapidly improving technological competence.” ―New York Journal of Books
“A dark new book by James Barrat, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, lays out a strong case for why we should be at least a little worried.” ―NewYorker.com
“You can skip coffee this week -- Our Final Invention will keep you wide-awake.” ―Singularity Hub
“Barrat has talked to all the significant American players in the effort to create recursively self-improving artificial general intelligence in machines. He makes a strong case that AGI with human-level intelligence will be developed in the next couple of decades. … His thoughtful case about the dangers of ASI gives even the most cheerful technological optimist much to think about.” ―Reason
“If you read just one book that makes you confront scary high-tech realities that we'll soon have no choice but to address, make it this one.” ―The Washington Post
About the Author
James Barrat is a documentary filmmaker who's written and produced films for National Geographic, Discovery, PBS, and many other broadcasters in the United States and Europe. He lives near Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children.
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Top Customer Reviews
Though the core thesis is specific, the book is broad in its coverage and detailed throughout. Barrat interviews many interesting people with different perspectives and takes on AI and technology in general, so you never want to put the book down. A lot of the book is about potential futures, but the history of AI is also given its due, and was the part I found the most interesting. The endnotes are numerous and very helpful.
What's interesting is that every time you think of a point that might have gone unconsidered, Barrat addresses it at some point later in the book. Overall, it amounts to a pretty pessimistic take on AI, which is good because Barrat and many of the people he interviews have no delusions of what we're up against should AGI or ASI arise. Notably, he thinks we're not that far away from actually creating it, either. This is a book that should be read by anyone with an interest in the big issues we face in our future, which in turn should be everyone.
Most recent customer reviews
Hey, you like fiction it is your book, if you study AI don't bother. Also, I liked the cover of the book, hated the content and the language. jkPublished 5 months ago by Jack Konshin
I normally do not provide critical reviews. They aren't necessarily helpful. However, this book was awful repetitive; enough to make an active reader go "bonkers". Too bad. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Brad Mattson