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Summary

Artificial intelligence is our most powerful technology and, in the coming decades, it'll change everything in our lives. If we get it right, it'll make humans almost godlike. If we get it wrong...well, extinction is not the worst possible outcome.

Surviving AI is a concise, easy guide to what's coming, taking you through technological unemployment (the economic singularity) and the possible creation of a superintelligence (the technological singularity).

©2015 Calum Chace (P)2015 Calum Chace

Critic reviews

"Understanding AI - its promise and its dangers - is emerging as one of the great challenges of coming decades, and this is an invaluable guide to anyone who's interested, confused, excited, or scared." (David Shukman, BBC Science editor)
"We have recently seen a surge in the volume of scholarly analysis of this topic; Chace impressively augments that with this high-quality, more general-audience discussion." (Aubrey de Grey, CSO of SENS Research Foundation; former AI researcher)
"Calum Chace is a prescient messenger of the risks and rewards of artificial intelligence. In Surviving AI, he has identified the most essential issues and developed them with insight and wit - so that the very framing of the questions aids our search for answers. Chace's sensible balance between AI's promise and peril makes Surviving AI an excellent primer for anyone interested in what's happening, how we got here, and where we are headed." (Kenneth Cukier, co-author of Big Data)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Cat
  • Hatfield, United Kingdom
  • 26-01-18

Excellent listen

To date my knowledge on the status, theories, concerns and hopes for AI have come from news articles and podcasts.
I was curious to dig into the subject both more broadly and deeply. I was also desperately hoping not to get lost in either technicalities or philosophical ideas that'd lose me in their complexity.
I found this informative book delivered on all areas, and did so in a manner that ensured I consumed it effortlessly, but not without prompting more thought.
A thoroughly enjoyable listen with the narrator delivering complex ideas succinctly presented by the author, clearly at x2 speed.
Quite tempted to buy the physical book now to highlight and contemplate various elements presented.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Insightful

A really very balanced evaluation of: where we are with AI, what we need to do, what we should be afraid of and much more.
A definite recommendation for those who enjoy science fiction, even though this is very nearly science fact!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Inspired to learn more on the subject.

Great read! The author has deep understanding and he has carried out extensive research on the topic. The book has inspired me to look further into the Friendly AI project.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book, not revolutionary

This is a well researched and well written book. It touches on the implications of AI, how we are developing it and how it may potentially impact humanity.

However, I don't think it gives the reader / listener much more content than we would get from reading a few articles on the subject. Worth reading if you have little to no knowledge about Artificial Intelligence though.

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A bit superficial

Adds nothing to the field and glosses over pretty much everything that's actually interesting. Wish I'd found something more scholarly

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interesting read. could be longer

really thought provoking. I'd have liked a bit more on the current effect of AI on job markers etc, but suppose it's moving too fast for that. well worth listening to the middle chapters

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Good overview of the major talking points of AI

Artificial General Intelligence (AGI or AI) is a very important topics for us all to understand, as it will dictate the future of our world. To get this education right is difficult, as it spans the simple everyday and the complex future all in one.

This book does a great job of explaining AI to all levels of audience including a layman, and will inform you so that you can become central to, or part of, this important debate, and not just a bystander.

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Seeding

This doesn't offer much in terms of answers, which isn't surprising, but it does provoke discussion of an important existential threat in as thought out a manner as a layman book can hope for.

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Very interesting discussion.

Coherent extrapolated volition is such a brilliant concept :). Some excellent reasoning and well balanced view points throughout the book

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Ok

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Was interesting but would've been nice with more detail!
But maybe the author is working on this, an ever evolving subject.

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-09-16

Good Overview

Very high-level. Great information. May not be detailed enough for a reader familiar with AI.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan Collins
  • 26-08-16

Good Introduction to the Topic

You could easily see a book like this become too long and laborious for the average reader. I was impressed that the producer and author kept it informative but relatively brief. I am more technically inclined than the average person but I can see this book being highly accessible by a reader that knows little about AI but wants to know more. The author does an exceptional job in introducing the reader to the moral aspect of AI and makes a compelling case for why it is every bit as important as the how and when we technical people tend to focus on.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Quella
  • 27-07-16

Confirmation Bias and the rise of AGI

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. .

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

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.

Which character – as performed by Joe Hempel – was your favorite?

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.

Any additional comments?

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

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • -E
  • 25-08-16

Very good!!

What did you like best about this story?

I now have a clearer understanding of a topic for which I was fairly ignorant. Thanks to the author!! Great read.

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Daman
  • 23-08-16

Fascinating look into our future

What made the experience of listening to Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence the most enjoyable?

The reality of AI becoming commonplace is not so distant anymore. It was shocking and scary at the same time. The story was well written.

What does Joe Hempel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It made the subject matter come to life and was easy to listen to.

Any additional comments?

"I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • AdaChaDad
  • 16-08-16

Good book for the curious.

Would you listen to Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence again? Why?

Yes. I believe the author did a good job of providing an overview of the history of AI, how we got to where we are and some possibilities of what is to come.

What did you like best about this story?

It caused me to give a bit more thought (not that I can really do anything to prepare for it) about how drastically things could be in the not too distant future. A bit exciting and a bit scary.

What about Joe Hempel’s performance did you like?

The author did a nice job narrating his own book. Considering the type of book that it is, a real dynamic actor is not required. Hempel's style was more than satisfactory for the job.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Seeing the changes that technology has brought to our culture over the past 20 years or so, I'd have to say that I feel some sadness about the path we are on. Even though I am a bit of a tech junkie, I really long for the simpler times that are forever gone in our Western culture.

Any additional comments?

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, publisher, or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan
  • 24-06-16

Outstanding, easy to understand discussion of AI and possible benefits and dangers

This book is essentially a simplified and easy to understand version of Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence. It is an accessible explanation of the biggest and possibly last issue humans will face. The possibilities range from wonderful to terrifying.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • starguy
  • 29-04-16

Great at overview of artificial intelligence.

This what provides a great overview of artificial intelligence and its implications for Humanity. it provides enough detail on the current state of development to provide the reader with an understanding of the subject to be able to consider the broader implications of its development.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • EP
  • 25-10-16

The Promise and Perils of Artificial Intelligence

Would you listen to Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence again? Why?

This audiobook was very interesting and informative!

This audiobook chronicles the history of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the current state of AI, and finally, the possible (if not likely directions) AI will take in the future.

Although the entire audiobook was fascinating, the most interesting part to me had to do with the future of AI; namely, that Artificial Intelligence might one day lead to the creation of a "super intelligence"-an entity that could think for itself and which might even possess self awareness. Would this "super intelligence" view mankind as an ally, as an adversary, or as a neutral entity? Obviously, man's well-being depends on the answer to this question!

It seems to me that the future of AI depends on the limits of Moore's law (the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits doubles about every 18 months). If a limit to Moore's law is reached, some new paradigm will need to emerge in order to continue the amazing AI breakthroughs that Moore's law has up to now made possible. Although I certainly don't believe Moore's law will continue forever, I DO believe that a new paradigm will emerge that will bring AI to a pinnacle (and potentially dangerous) level.

Scary stuff!

I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • mark
  • 14-01-16

Great overview

If you could sum up Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence in three words, what would they be?

Great AI Overview

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes.

Any additional comments?

The author did a great job with this book. It's a very broad subject and took a lot of research. He explains the different aspects of artificial intelligence very well.
definitely worth listening to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful