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The future of AI depends on 9 companies. If they fail, we're doomed.

#artificialintelligence

Welcome to AI book reviews, a series of posts that explore the latest literature on artificial intelligence. If artificial intelligence will destroy humanity, it probably won't be through killer robots and the incarnation--it will be through a thousand paper cuts. In the shadow of the immense benefits of advances in technology, the dark effects of AI algorithms are slowly creeping into different aspects of our lives, causing divide, unintentionally marginalizing groups of people, stealing our attention, and widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor. While we're already seeing and discussing many of the negative aspects of AI, not enough is being done to address them. And the reason is that we're looking in the wrong place, as futurist and Amy Webb discusses in her book The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity. Many are quick to blame large tech companies for the problems caused by artificial intelligence.


How can we design AI for the best long-term interests of humanity?

#artificialintelligence

Imagine that you are living in a tiny community at the base of a valley that's surrounded by mountains. At the top of a distant mountain is a giant boulder. It's been there for a long time and has never moved, so as far as your community is concerned, it just blends into the rest of the landscape. Then one day, you notice that the giant boulder looks unstable--that it's in position to roll down the mountain, gaining speed and power as it moves, and it will destroy your community and everyone in it. In fact, you realize that perhaps you've been blind to its motion your entire life.


Why AI is a threat to democracy--and what we can do to stop it

#artificialintelligence

Amy Webb, futurist, NYU professor, and award-winning author, has spent much of the last decade researching, discussing, and meeting with people and organizations about artificial intelligence. "We've reached a fever pitch in all things AI," she says. Now it's time to step back to see where it's going. This is the task of her new book, The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity, where she takes a bird's-eye view of trends that, she warns, have put the development of technology on a dangerous path. In the US, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Apple (the "G-MAFIA") are hamstrung by the relentless short-term demands of a capitalistic market, making long-term, thoughtful planning for AI impossible.


Why AI is a threat to democracy--and what we can do to stop it

MIT Technology Review

Amy Webb, futurist, NYU professor, and award-winning author, has spent much of the last decade researching, discussing, and meeting with people and organizations about artificial intelligence. "We've reached a fever pitch in all things AI," she says. Now it's time to step back to see where it's going. This is the task of her new book, The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity, where she takes a bird's-eye view of trends that, she warns, have put the development of technology on a dangerous path. In the US, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Apple (the "G-MAFIA") are hamstrung by the relentless short-term demands of a capitalistic market, making long-term, thoughtful planning for AI impossible.


Online Safety in an A.I. World

#artificialintelligence

So, a few months ago, I was walking down the street in Shenzhen, in the Guangdong Province of southeastern China. I was hungry and looking for lunch. Armed with my credit card and plenty of the local currency, I strode out of my hotel to check out the many street vendors selling delicious-smelling food. Using Google Translate, I was able to order a fried fish dish, but when I went to pay, the vendor refused my credit card. Undaunted I pulled out cash, but that too was refused. The guy pointed me to a large QR code and asked me to pay using the WeChat app. As this was my first day in China, I hadn't yet set the app to pay for things, so I walked away, a little embarrassed. Still hungry, I came to a large junction and saw a promising looking restaurant across a busy street.