• The Big Nine

  • How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity
  • By: Amy Webb
  • Narrated by: Amanda Dolan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (557 ratings)

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The Big Nine  By  cover art

The Big Nine

By: Amy Webb
Narrated by: Amanda Dolan
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Publisher's summary

A call-to-arms about the broken nature of artificial intelligence, and the powerful corporations that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head.

We like to think that we are in control of the future of "artificial" intelligence. The reality, though, is that we - the everyday people whose data powers AI - aren't actually in control of anything. When, for example, we speak with Alexa, we contribute that data to a system we can't see and have no input into - one largely free from regulation or oversight. The big nine corporations - Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Microsoft, IBM and Apple - are the new gods of AI and are short-changing our futures to reap immediate financial gain.

In this book, Amy Webb reveals the pervasive, invisible ways in which the foundations of AI - the people working on the system, their motivations, the technology itself - is broken. Within our lifetimes, AI will, by design, begin to behave unpredictably, thinking and acting in ways which defy human logic. The big nine corporations may be inadvertently building and enabling vast arrays of intelligent systems that don't share our motivations, desires, or hopes for the future of humanity.

Much more than a passionate, human-centered call-to-arms, this book delivers a strategy for changing course, and provides a path for liberating us from algorithmic decision-makers and powerful corporations.

©2019 Amy Webb (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"Rather than questioning the character of thinking machines, futurist Amy Webb turns a critical eye on the humans behind the computers. With AI's development overwhelmingly driven by nine tech powerhouses, she asks: Is it possible for the technology to serve the best interests of everyone?"—Wired

"Webb's assessments are based on analyses of patent filings, policy briefings, interviews and other sources. She paints vivid pictures of how AI could benefit the average person, via precision medicine or smarter dating apps...Her forecasts are provocative and unsettlingly plausible."—Science News

"Instead of predicting the future, Webb lays out scenarios for optimistic, pragmatic, and catastrophic outcomes -- all extrapolated from current facts. However impractical you may find the idea of a common Apple-Amazon operating system named Applezon, considering potential scenarios is a fantastically healthy exercise, because anyone who tells you they know how AI is going to turn out is lying."—VentureBeat