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Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  560 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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

“Surviving AI” is a concise, easy-to-read guide to what's coming, taking you through technological unemployment (the economi

Kindle Edition, 261 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by Three Cs (first published July 29th 2015)
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Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This topic has been generating an increasing amount of media coverage in the last couple of years, with luminaries like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking suggesting that AI might lead to the extinction of humans. That makes it about as big a topic as there is really.

This is a book for the layman and the author starts with some useful definitions, including the difference between artificial narrow intelligence and artificial general intelligence - AGI - where a computer would be capable of undertakin
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1audio, 2non-fiction
I started off by listening to this pair do Pandora's Brain which didn't impress me at all. It wasn't what I expected being YA SF, but I don't think that was the main issue. I was given both books for an honest review & am really glad I listened to this one.

The intro starts out with a mind wrenching reference to smart phones being AI. Well, they are, but not what I normally think of in that regard. Don't let it put you off, though. Chace clears up his definitions fairly quickly in the first chapt
Interesting layman's introduction to what is an absolutely enthralling subject - think there must be better books on it out there though so I'm going to keep reading more on this. ...more
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference

'Surviving AI' is an exceptionally clear, well-researched and balanced introduction to a complex and controversial topic, and is a compelling read to boot. - Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh, executive director (2015), Cambridge Centre for the Study of Environmental Risk - plaudit in 'Comments on Surviving AI', Surviving AI, Three Cs, 2015.

Largely, I agree, out of my ignorance, as a newcomer to the subject - it is a good read, and a deliberate preamble to the more in-depth Superintelligence by Nick B
Tõnu Vahtra
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
“intelligence measures an agent’s general ability to achieve goals in a wide range of environments.”

The book gives a short summary of different levels of AI, where we are currently (as of 2015) in relation to those levels and the risks that humankind is facing on each level. The book is also strongly recommended by Jaan Tallinn. There are many books in this field written both from the optimist and pessimist standpoint, this tends to be more on the negative side (still leaving room for positive o
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

“Surviving AI" is a very interesting book that looks at the formidable challenges and potential enormous benefits of artificial intelligence. Best-selling author of fiction and non-fiction books, Calum Chace provides readers with keen insights into AI and espouses the need to adopt policies which will encourage the best possible outcomes. This concise 208-page book includes nine chapters broken out by the following four
Horst Walther
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surviving AI may not be sufficient in case you want to dive deep into that tricky matter.
However, it is a must read for each one, who wants to approach it.
For me it became the logical closing stone after some 3 years of private research, including much of the work cited by Calum Chace.
He came very much to the same conclusions.
Some of them however he only touched shortly without revealing its full potential impact.
And some of the more esoteric ideas he missed out.
So I feel compelled to give them
Francene Carroll
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great overview of AI for someone with limited knowledge of the field. The book is easy to understand and balanced in its approach.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a solid introduction to thoughts and developments in the area of Artificial Intelligence. There’s a lot of speculation about doomsday scenarios which ultimately lead to the conclusion that no one really knows where this is heading. Essentially, Chace’s argument is that AI development is unstoppable so don’t try to resist it. There’s a huge array of positive changes that AI can bring to the world but be warned - we are not investing enough into ensuring the creation of a friendly AI.

I enj
Brian's Book Blog
Well, this is terrifying... A look at AI (the history, what's going on now, and a look into the future)

Before you jump into this review I want to preface it with saying that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the “partner” book to this Pandora’s Brain.

Surviving AI is a quick non-fiction book that is full of interesting facts, quotes and overall impressions of Artificial Intelligence and the other forms that are included in the AI “bubble” that is soon to exist. This book (I believe) was written
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books
The author has done an excellent job in describing the topic of AI and its effect on humanity in an easy and concise way. If you are looking for deep technical description and the latest techniques and directions in AI, this is not the book for you. However, the book touches on deep subjects relating to the inevitability of the emergence of an artificial general intelligence (AGI) as a result of the continuous technology progress and makes one think hard about the future of humanity.

As we are se
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After reading Calum Chases book Pandora's Brain ( which I loved! ) I was given the opportunity to read Surviving AI. It's a fascinating read, and helps explain to those of us who know very little about AI, just how important finding out is!

Will there be an artificial intelligence created in our lifetimes, will it be friendly or hostile? These are questions that we currently do not have the answers to, but ones that should be on our minds, as it may be a possibility!

The idea of AI is intriguin
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Terrific read!

This book is concise and well organized, although I had read James Barrat's 'The final invention' leading to this one. But more than the tone or the quality, the subject of a friendly AI is crucial to us, the general public.

The internet is a vast pool of knowledge from which a super intelligence will absorb knowledge, and likewise we need the inputs and efforts of the billions of us in helping create a friendly AI. We owe that to our successors.

Also, this was a free book on Kindle
Chris Harris
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a 99p purchase on the Kindle store, and I'm glad I didn't spend more on the book; I would have felt cheated. The breezy, flippant tone jars with the existential threat subject matter and the book comes across as a lightweight piece of "gee whiz" journalism.

The book skims over a lot of the basics that would help to explain what AI is, or what the different fields which are currently active entail. What is a neural net? How does machine learning work? How did IBM's Watson win at Jeopardy
John Rowe
Mar 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Surviving AI: The promise and peril of artificial intelligence by Calum Chace provides a great platform to understand some definitions around AI, the current (as of early 2020) state of the art, and the thoughts of some of the big thinkers on the topic. In the end, though, no one knows how AI will progress and what chance, if any, us pretty smart mammals will have to be able to control a sentient computer if/when it comes into existence.

Honestly, it's hard to imagine a good outcome here given th
Eduardo Deboni
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Artificial Intelligence is one of the most important and revolutionary technologies that was ever invented by men. The possibilities bring us closer to what we could call a god by creating something we could consider conscientious or alive. The author is philosopher, not a technician, and is also a science fiction author. This gives the book a nice explanatory and analytical tone, and it helps evaluate the possibilities for our future. Initially I found the book a little too optimist, but as the ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Was going to read Life 3.0 from Max Tegmark and found a recommendation from Derek Silvers to read Surviving AI first as an intro. Great information about the concepts of Artificial General Intelligence and Superintelligence and some of the risks. 'A day in the life' section that walks through a futuristic Julia's day with her digital assistant, from waking up at the best stage of her sleep cycle, autonomous driving, augmented reality, reminders of personal profiles and live nudges on speed and b ...more
Michael Saunders
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice coffee Boise explanation of what AI is, what it is not and what it is becoming. Addresses the technological, social and cultural impact. Makes you realise that we are at the beginning of a journey which if not very carefully managed could be the technology to drive us to the dystopian ( sorry - a much overused word by today’s fatalists ) future we all fear. Alternatively if harnessed sensibly and with strict ethical development and use, it could be a catalyst for the a future of great human ...more
Chris Bates
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great overview of AI and the ensuing AGI

Great overview in layman’s terms of Artificial Intelligence and it’s coming Artificial General Intelligence, including the concerns and suggested approaches though some are fanciful. Unfortunately there’s still much that we do not know: when this will happen or if it will be friendly to humans. This offers a great starting point if you’ve wanted to know more about the coming post-AGI superintelligence.
Omran Antar
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I've been reading a lot of books about AI and I was like oh yeah I recognized many of the books the author quotes. The only reason I gave it three stars is that it didn't give me a lot of new ideas. Other than that if you want to know the effect of AI on our lives and whether it is achievable , you must read this book. ...more
John Pollard
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't quite finish it (80%) as my Kindle Unlimited sub ran out, but it is a very easy read and is a short book, to the point, not puff. Highly recommended for a brief overview of the state of AI and the possibilities for where it will end up. More of a thought provoking introduction to the topic that an in-depth work. ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good for kicking off discussions

It’s a good discussion around AI it’s current status, future and specially challenges.

It avoids other current topics specially around the use of AI in media and social networks. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in Artificial Intelligence and a broad scope of philosophical conversations.

Ali Miremadi
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
A philosopher’s outline of the history, present and potential futures of AI, so helpful for a layperson like me. It would go well with watching ‘Black Mirror’...and some of the conclusions about the potential of technology are equally dark.
Lester Cox
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nice read. It reminds me of the real human need for augmented intelligence

Humans are evolving and we should step back and pay attention to how that evolution is occuring. How we interact with machines and each other is critical
yusuf habib Dibs wazit
I highly doubt what in this book is to come true in the next 20-200 years. But it's a nice read for whom ever is into the world of tech 🤓 ...more
David Abigt
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Kind of an updated "The Filter Bubble". Good if you have not read that but otherwise not much new. ...more
Scott Wozniak
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Good overview of the situation, the major views, and what might be next. Not especially new or challenging, but a good intro to the conversation for beginners.
Oliver Thomas
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great general intro to a fascinating topic, if perhaps a little hyperbolic.
Judyta Szaciłło
It is a simple book, a succint presentation of basic concepts written for a lay reader who is new to the whole realm of AI-related dilemmas. A quality read if you want to learn the basics.
Leon Quinn
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and pretty scary read on the inevitable rise of artificial intelligence. It's here already folks.. ...more
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Calum studied philosophy at Oxford University, where he discovered that the science fiction he had been reading since early boyhood is actually philosophy in fancy dress.

He published "Surviving AI", a non-fiction review of the promise and peril of artificial intelligence in September 2015. Previously, he published "Pandora's Brain", a novel about the first conscious machine.

He is a regular speaker

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