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Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era | [James Barrat]

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

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.
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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.

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  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 07-19-14
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 07-19-14 Member Since 2001

    Letting the rest of the world go by

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Zuccarini 10-21-14
    ratings
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    9
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    "Excellent Narrative But Ends Flat"
    What made the experience of listening to Our Final Invention the most enjoyable?

    The reasonable assumptions underlying mans demise


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    latest examples of AI...least was nano technology


    Which character – as performed by Gary Dana – was your favorite?

    the guy who faked getting out the box


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    andrew Singapore, Singapore 09-06-14
    andrew Singapore, Singapore 09-06-14 Member Since 2008
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    "basic definition"
    What did you like best about Our Final Invention? What did you like least?

    I liked that it introduces the issues we might need to deal with but i didn't like there is not any definition of what intelligence is. There was an attempt to contemplate what a dog could become if it thought faster, or had a bigger brain, but it is way towards the end of the book AND the answer is 'I/we don't know". Yet the author claims the AI will be 1,000 or more times more intelligent...but what does that mean? Or is it even possible? The notion of bigger twice, three times or more times is quite tricky when looked at as a geometrical progression. So, a 1,000 times more intelligent AI might be an exaggeration or lacks any real world comparison. (just like temperature of 10,000 degrees - one understand that it is hot, but how hot when we can imagine the consequences of around 1,500 degrees only?)


    Has Our Final Invention turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no, it hasn't but i'll think twice about buying the author's other book(s), if i ever come to that point.


    Have you listened to any of Gary Dana’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to his performance before but I would again.


    Do you think Our Final Invention needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    no it doesn't. It is all theories that don't have much foundation. Without more data or experience (or access to them) there is nothing else to discuss. It would be just another theory. It is like a forecast of any supposedly close sports match - we have the data about players, surface etc, but how the match will end is anybody's guess with so many variables in play. And that's where we are..at the beginning of a match with AI.


    Any additional comments?

    I still enjoyed the book but it doesn't answer many questions and offers only vague suggestions as to what might come along. It is a bit too repetitive and a bit longer than necessary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olivier 09-01-14
    Olivier 09-01-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Disappointing"
    Would you try another book from James Barrat and/or Gary Dana?

    The topic is fascinating as machines' intelligence will keep growing at a faster rate.But not once in this 9+hours read does the author describe a scenario where things could go bad.The book ends up being a long repetitive rambling about the fact that machine intelligence is a threat. Yet does not offer a single case of bad things happening.For example, when car technology appeared, one could have (and certainly did) envisioned that accident could kill people from accident. Or that thieves could use cars to flee for a robbery.But nothing like that here, except "beware humans, computers are dangerous".Don't take me wrong, I think machine intelligence could be dangerous. In many situations, actually.But I am still stunned the author did not take the energy to show even a scenario or two.This kills 90% of th potential interest of this book.


    Would you ever listen to anything by James Barrat again?

    No


    Would you be willing to try another one of Gary Dana’s performances?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    This is a serious topic, and the timing to start writing about what could happen and how to prevent it is good.But hopefully the next author on the topic will have the courage and the expertise to address it in depth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Waterbury,Ct 06-19-14
    Amazon Customer Waterbury,Ct 06-19-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Fascinating and a bit scary."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Our Final Invention to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version. I picked up the audibook because it was plugged on TWiT a lot and I wanted to understand it.


    What other book might you compare Our Final Invention to and why?

    I don't know. It's a dire warnining about the possible consequences of ongoing research in the AI field. There's lots of fictionalized stories like this (Asimov's classics come to mind) but this is a non fiction book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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