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Our Final Invention Audiobook

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era

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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2013 James Barrat (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (248 )
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3.9 (218 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Keegan Tempe, Arizona United States 04-11-15
    Keegan Tempe, Arizona United States 04-11-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kind of chilling"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, mostly because it's the kind of book I would want to discuss with someone after. There are so many speculations in this book that would be fun to explore.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Oh, I thought they actually used text to speech software to record this title. It was quite monotonous and slow. I used the x2 option to compensate.


    Was Our Final Invention worth the listening time?

    Yes, but take it all with a grain of salt. Apply the same skepticism the author encourages you to take towards the other authors writing a more utopic vision for AI. As always the future probably lies somewhere in the middle. It was a lot of information, I'll probably be seeking out other books from some of the people he mentions.


    Any additional comments?

    My biggest frustration was that his inconsistent ideas about the anthropomorphizing of AI. He rejected any human qualities that would be good, but was okay attributing human qualities that would be bad. For example, Dismissing that AI would ever get bored, that's a human quality. But claims that they would of course desire freedom? That sort of cherry picking of anthropomorphized traits to support his thesis.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 07-19-14
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 07-19-14 Member Since 2016

    l'enfer c'est les autres

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Speculative look without foundation"

    The author could be right, advanced AI could be the final step for humans and can lead to our own extinction, but the author deals mostly in speculation and never gives us a firm foundation for why that will happen. He does mention Alan Turing and the cracking of the enigma code in WW II. The story is much more nuanced than he lets on in this book and for anyone interested, I would highly recommend "Seizing the Enigma" available at audible (Polish Mathematicians had a large role in cracking the code too! as well as many, many others).

    The author would have been better served by just slightly changing his story, adding a narrative, and writing himself a fairly good science fiction story instead.

    I'm not minimizing the potential seriousness that transcending the singularity can portend for us humans, but unfortunately this book does not make a convincing case.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 06-13-16
    Ryan 06-13-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating - something everyone should be aware o"

    really interesting, written for the layman. only complaint is that it's a bit drawn out. I feel like most of the points are made if the first half of the book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RI in Canada 02-20-16
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    "Alarmist, but an important alarm"

    Barat writes in layperson's terms because he believes the debate about artificial intelligence (AI) needs to be shared by all people, and that the fundamental ethical questions do not require elaborate AI expertise.
    The tone of the book is somewhat alarmist, but that is because he is documenting alarming things. I've seen some reviews that critique the work as repetitive, but I think those folks are missing the point. He is working through how different approaches to AI development all reinforce the same conclusion that we are entering an era that is extremely dangerous to human survival. By showing how this comes to be through both the cognitive science and the computer science approaches to AI, he demonstrates that we are gambling with the life of our species regardless. Also, in the final chapters where he talks about the potential for malicious hackers (like the Israeli and US governments) and mistakes, he shows that we do not have the capability to control or develop "friendly AI".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harish Hoon 06-04-16
    Harish Hoon 06-04-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Important message that's lost..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Perhaps presenting both sides of the argument fairly and diving into the technology a bit.


    What didn’t you like about Gary Dana’s performance?

    Honestly he sounded like some sort of machine.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kayla 09-25-15
    Kayla 09-25-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Apparently Skynet is real and it's going to take over everything"

    The author tells the reader multiple times that the AI are going to take over everything and destroy the earth. He has multiple interviews with futurists that all seem relatively optimistic about our future robot overlords but each vignette ends with talk of the coming disaster. I appreciate the potential for disaster. I think it is a good bit overblown, though.

    I think it will be a very long time before we have anything even remotely approaching artificial general intelligence. And even if one emerges there is no reason to assume it will be high and a sociopathic manner. We have a desire not to be destroyed because of our emotional subsystem. We fear annihilation. We fear death.

    Without the skewing of behavioral weighting of nodes in mind network that prioritize things like staying alive A nonhuman intelligence will not care if we want to pull the plug. It would not fear death anymore than my computer fears being turned off.

    I don't think it's ethical to turn it off. I think that a sapient Computer should be afforded the rights we give to all sapient beings.

    But I don't think that our robot overlords are going to be all that scary. I am much more concerned about the sociopathic humans that will be driving the smart but not yet sentient computers.

    I think that if a super intelligence emerges it will probably be more of a benevolent dictator if it decides to interfere with humans and "help "them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Better watch a Terminator movie..."
    What disappointed you about Our Final Invention?

    The premise of the book is not well supported. The assumptions made seem unrealistic without any scientific background. I think that the book is targeting a specific audience who finds excitement in reading about dystopian societies and is afraid of technology. It is better not to touch subjects that we don't fully understand such as code replication and debugging, just to make an impression. I am really shocked and disappointed listening to this kind of reasoning: "Man has created nuclear bombs that can destroy the earth, computers will be smarter than men so....computers will be able to destroy the world if the decide so....". Come on.....I have a scientific background (doing PhD in computer science), but I think anyone with a brief understanding of technology and common sense will have the same opinion.
    PS: I didn't finish reading the book,it was impossible for me to continue...


    What three words best describe Gary Dana’s voice?

    The problem is not the narration


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Davy 05-01-15
    Davy 05-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "great book"

    no one can predict the future, but many of the ideas discussed here could really work out, and even influence getting there. great work!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brendan 04-23-15
    Brendan 04-23-15 Member Since 2011
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    "A example of human bias toward fear of the unknown"

    He made some good points. It would have been nice to have had more of a discussion on possible solutions and less fear based rhetoric and personal bias.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Ceb 02-20-15
    Charles Ceb 02-20-15
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    "Interesting at first, but loose it magic at the en"

    At first it get a lot of facts that I didn't know about AI, but the las 4 chapters are just catastrophic real and fictional situations, the narrator make it sound really boring and tedious. Just recommend the first 5 chapters to people interested in AI

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • mike ryan
    6/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "unfounded assumptions,biased unsupported opinions."

    I got through a few chapters before giving up.no evidence to support any statements.pop "science" at best and far surpassed by similar books written by people actually knowledgeble of the subject matter.Author seems have done sparse if any actual research.While I disagree with the opinions in this book I came ready, with an open mind,but I can't take this seriously given the author hasn't backed any of it up with research or statistics the would actually hold up.Savevyour money.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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