Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution - Louis A. Del Monte

Summary: "The Artificial Intelligence Revolution" by Louis A. Del Monte is a warning regarding the threat new artificial intelligence (AI) technology poses to the survival of humankind. Will the future come down to man versus machine, when the singularity is near? Will an artificial intelligence robot be your friend or foe?

Scientists are working relentlessly at improving AI technology for the benefit of man. Evolved technology is everywhere-smart TVs, smart phones, and even smart houses. One day the artificial intelligence of these machines will match our own intelligence-and one day it will exceed the "singularity."

Then what?

Will machines continue to serve us as the balance tips in their favor? These questions are addressed rigorously, their potentialities extrapolated for one reason-the survival of humankind. Are "strong" AI machines (SAMs) a new form of life? Should SAMs have rights? Do SAMs pose a threat to humankind?

Del Monte and other AI experts predict that AI capabilities will develop into SAMs with abilities far beyond what human beings can even fathom. Will they serve us, or will SAMs take an entirely different viewpoint? That question and many more are tackled by Del Monte in this sobering look at the "The Artificial Intelligence Revolution." (Summary and Pic from goodreads.com)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

My Review: I think I was the perfect audience for this book. Before I read this book, I didn’t really know a ton about artificial intelligence or the singularity, and so you can see how a zealous author would love someone like me—someone malleable, untouched in the ins and outs of AI, but yet someone who has somewhat of a capacity to think (I flatter myself).

So here I am, unaware, and then BAM! It’s like I was drinking from a fire hose. In fact, this book took me quite awhile to read because there is a ton of information coupled with some very strong opinions and so I had to pace myself—you know, come up for air every now and then.

The author is obviously knowledgeable and had a very vested interest in this topic. He’s done a ton of research and a lot of reading, and although he does present some information from both sides, he’s definitely got his opinions, which he heavily supports. Some of his logical discussions are ones that may be seen on a practice version of the LSAT, and if you’ve taken the LSAT, you know what I mean. If this then A then this then B then this then C this so obviously C equals A.

Speaking of the LSAT and therefore school, this book is written very much like a master’s thesis. Even the format is like the published version of someone’s thesis. The resources are there, it presents quotes at the beginning, outlines and then conclusions and wrap-ups after every chapter. Given the heavy nature of the topic and also the lingo and acronyms associated with it, I very much appreciated that. It kept me on track and made it much easier to read. I’m pretty sure I would have been extremely lost if it weren’t for those wrap-ups and conclusions.

By the very nature of the way that the book is written and the author’s passion for the topic, you bettah believe that I’m a little worried that I’m going to become a subhuman in 2040 because I’m not AI. It leaves a little bit of doubt (or maybe more than that!) in that iron-hard shell that many of us have created in believing that artificial intelligence will never take over.

So if you are looking for a good introduction to the topic of the singularity or artificial intelligence and the future, this is definitely a book to check out, if for no other reason that it gives you a healthy dose of fear when you read your newspaper and read about the drones and such. And even though I love my Amazon Prime, after reading this I’m very grateful that the rumor of delivery by drones right to my door was exaggerated. For the time being.

My rating: 3 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is clean. There isn’t even any bad language.

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