Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence Audiobook Review

Would you try another book from Calum Chace and/or Joe Hempel?

The book was more a high-level jet tour of AI in general with a focus on AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) and some details on Superintelligence. Although I enjoy and have read books covering the subject of AI, more in the gaming perspective, the author and his premise is more focused on AI that is self-aware and what do/should we do with such an AI when or if it happens.

This book, in many ways, reminds me of the book “Engines of Creation” by Eric Drexler (1986) covering the subject of Nanotechnology. AI, along with deep learning, meta data, and other terms have been the latest scientific craze to replace the older ones we previously worried about; such as nanotechnology. Like with nanotechnology, one needs to be careful with AI in a similar way. I agree that even if AI were outlawed with hopes of preventing AGI from happening, there would be people experimenting with it just like they did with the atomic bomb. I liked the authors discussion of the issue around indifference and how this is an issue as much as friendly or hostile AI. Just an area not often covered in this type of material

For me, I would have liked a deeper dive into an AI primer than to go the route of what could be more speculative arguments. Understanding that much of AI and the level of AIG are still in the speculative realm. I found the author placed a lot of trust in aspects of science while often ignoring the more moral parts of the subject. This is not to say he did not breeze over them in parts of the book, but it seemed more something he did not want to bother with as it could be a very sensitive and difficult road to go down.

I’m not sure I fully agree or understand the author’s assumption that biology and technology can be blended or that one can fully duplicate one from the other. This may be my lack of understanding of the complexities of AIG and Superintelligence. We have been able to replicate specific applications of biological movement (move a widget from there to there) and automate them with technology. I just have a harder time understanding how this can be applied to intelligence or replicating the brain. As an audio book, I found the format of the book to be somewhat more difficult to follow. This book of course is more reference than fiction so that is and I was able to follow; just that the physical book would have been easier to follow the flow. This also does not reflect my thought about the difficulty being the narrator, he did a great job with the text.

To make the book more enjoyable, I would have like to have had more details on the history of AI and how it has progressed to today. Once that was covered, then dive down based on this information into AGI, etc. I felt that the author to quickly passed over Turing and some of the items the gave rise to AI which would have provided more detail on his premise

The narration of the book was done very well. I think Joe was able to make a book that may be considered boring or dull to many not interested in the subject to something they could enjoy listening too. I would look for other books narrated by this author in the future. Because this was non-fiction, it is difficult to provide feedback on his ability to do different characters, etc.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to the reviewer free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review of the material.

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