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The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  658 ratings  ·  104 reviews
The future is now. Acclaimed technologist and inventor Amir Husain explains how we can live amidst the coming age of sentient machines and artificial intelligence—and not only survive, but thrive.

Artificial “machine” intelligence is playing an ever-greater role in our society. We are already using cruise control in our cars, automatic checkout at the drugstore, and are una
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Scribner
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Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
If a computer can ever just beat a human champion at checkers, then we’ll know they can think. No wait, better make that chess. No, no, we better make that the game of Go. Go needs intuition and only humans have intuition. Oh, never mind. Computers can never think or be self aware because that’s what most people say and the consensus just must always be right! For a mostly consensus defending awful book one can read ‘What do you think about machines that think’ available at Audible, but I really ...more
Emma Sea
Disappointing, and i struggled to finish it. The content was fine, and the writing was sound, but it was uninspiring and unexciting. I dont feel like i learned anything new. i dont feel i had my eyes opened to any fresh perspectives. Not recommended.

2 stars, for OK.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not at all what it claims to be, which is a thoughtful contemplation of AI--it's the same old book about how blockchain and self-driving cars will change everything. What I think gets smuggled in as a bold view of the future is actually really unimaginative. AI will do the exact thing it is already doing, but way better. If history illustrates anything, it is that the future is very hard to predict--especially the future of tech (don't make me quote Keynes on the future of work). ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We've all probably seen the movies -- post-apocalyptic nightmares where advanced Artificial Intelligence has taken over the world. Enslaved us, killed us, thrown us into human zoos. With such notable figures as Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking warning us about the dangers that the coming AI can pose for humanity, should we just try to put a stop to its research? Should we take measures to stop people from creating further AI?

In The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligen
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deep learning, machine learning, neural networks, and of course, artificial intelligence or AI... these words appear more often each day in news articles. If you’re interested in artificial intelligence and in having a better understanding about these words, The Sentient Machine is the right book.

The author does a great job introducing the reader to artificial intelligence, the current state of innovation in the area, what’s next, what’s to be expected, and most importantly, he addresses the con
Peter Tillman
Meh. 2.5 stars, closed out as DNF, lost interest. OK book but I wasn't learning much.

My notes: why would you want a sentient machine, really? What we (and the market) want are, machines that can do a given task, Faster Cheaper Better than the previous way. End of story, really. Except that the *concept* makes for fun SF, and has since the days of Asimov & Clarke. And Helen O'Loy! Not to miss! Unlike this book.

Oh, and the foolish chatter of the left-wing com
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
As an introduction to the topic of the current and future use of AI, this book is informative, although not as complete as I would have liked (many interesting areas were ignored, such as the ethics of AI or minimized like the necessary adjustments to our society as results of wide-spread AI adoption, for example).
This is a thought-provoking book, which is great, but it also one where the author intentionally seeks controversy (e.g. with his choice of “mind hacking” examples taken from the USA
Albert Norton
I hoped to gain from this book more understanding of how artificial intelligence works, and what writers like Mr. Husain mean by "intelligence," "sentience," "learning," and so on, in comparison to what those kinds of words mean to human beings. I don't mean to give a low rating just because the book was about something other than what I'd hoped for, however. I rate it as I do because even for what it is, I think the book is weak. He provides a lot of yawn-worthy background to basic concepts and ...more
I found this book both confusing and incredibly one-sided. The author is definitely convinced of the wonderfulness of artificial intelligence. I'm not sure what I expected to get from this book, but I know I didn't get it. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review should be taken with a grain of salt as it was on the uncorrected proofs edition which I received via a giveaway.

I think the author has an immense amount of knowledge in his field and I wish that he had focused/expanded on more interesting areas of this text.

I found the last few chapters to be the most interesting, but what was frustrating about this text is that the author usually stopped short of actually exploring some of (to me) the more interesting aspects of what he was writin
Thomas Lønn Hammer
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ai
Amir Husain rehashes the same arguments as every AI romantic:
1. We must not anthropomorphise AI (it won't be like the Terminator xD)
2. Technology is not inherently good nor bad
3. We won't have to work so much
4. Can't stop it from happening
Etc etc.

While these are in a simple sense true, he doesn't understand the position of those who regard it as an existential threat. He seems to believe that the likes of Musk, Bostrom, Hawking, Kurzweil and Gates aren't able to see how AI is going to improve o
Wayne McCoy
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence' by Amir Husain is a thoughtful and reasoned look at the continuing advent of intelligent machines and what it might mean for us humans.

The book is divided in to 3 sections: What is AI; Today and Tomorrow; and The Future. The author makes a case for his love of technology and his lifelong study of computing. A discussion of what is artificial intelligence (AI) and what is not is given. Fears are brought to light, including those of
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this book 3.5 stars. There are a lot of facts about technology but the content is presented in a dull manner. This book is good for someone interested in the field and want to understand the nuances between the different terms (like machine learning versus deep learning). As computer technology advances, terminology changes and distinctions are made. For example, artificial narrow intelligence (ANI) is limited to specific tasks (like a GPS app that can estimate travel time based on day/ti ...more
Jaka Tomc
Although I gained some knowledge about AI, I expected a bit more. I lost interest several times while reading this book but I wanted to give it a chance and finish it. Author is too biased on some issues, like advantages of military use of AI. I just see the world differently than him. AI is a big threat to humanity and we can't just say "Let there be AI." We're probably already past the point of no return. We'll just have to see what the future holds. ...more
P. S.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars for AI-obsessed readers.

Fantastic for anyone who needs a basic introduction to the Futurology (and a bit of history) of AI. Touches on many important philosophical questions that I think many other AI-futurology books aren't asking ... yet.

I loved how he tried to take a more hopeful, optimistic stance on AI and the future of Humanity, while still warning of dangers.

Not sure why this is below a 4, this book was compact, well written, and brings up plenty of good points.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was boring and didn't really learn anything new. ...more
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really appreciate how accessible Husain makes this complex topic. If you’re already knowledgeable in the topic of machine learning and AI, you may not learn much from this. But as an outsider, I found this book interesting and engaging.
Mal Warwick
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Artificial intelligence researchers draw a clear distinction between Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) or Weak AI, and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) or Strong AI. Weak AI is the stuff of today's Siri, self-driving cars, those annoying systems that answer you when you phone just about any company nowadays, or other familiar devices that focus on a single task and possess no self-awareness. By contrast, as of today, Strong AI is essentially the stuff of science fiction. It's sentient in ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book reminds me of Bill Gates’ The Road Ahead, published in 1997 when VHS was king, everyone went to Blockbuster, and the Sony Discman finally had skip protection. Gates’ described a future of Netflixesque streaming, Google-like searches, and Apple Pay-like transactions; all things that are common place today. Amir takes a similar approach and the future he paints has artificial intelligence taking center stage.

Author interview:
An interesting look at AI, ANI, and AGI now (today - [as of 2017]) and future. Though not really in the sense that *WE* perceive AI to be. (Not robots, not terminator, not in this aspect.) More along the lines of integrated houses, technology in your FitBit's, and other such things. "The Internet of Things". While this wasn't exactly what I was anticipating when picking out the book, it still makes for an interesting and educational read.

Though most of it comes off as "scary what-if's" and what
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read into the potential of artificial intelligence from the technical, and social/societal dimensions. If you want both an introduction to the topic and to learn more about the impact on society, this is a terrific book. The author provides insight into the impact on a wide range of industry, culture and highlights the debates amongst world influencers on the topic.
Nicole Conser
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read and very accessible. A good introduction to how AI will impact various industries, and the alarming ways in which it might evolve outside of our control. I'm new to the subject, so I wish the author would have provided more of his personal opinions and beliefs about what we should or could be doing now, today, to promote more ethical and human-centered algorithms / AI systems. He seems to suggest that there isn't much we can know, and therefore do, to ensure that these "sentient machi ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author, Amir Hussain, is a well-known technologist and entrepreneur in the field of AI, the sentient machine is definitely a great introduction for the general public on the present of state AI developments around the world, key applications in various fields, and pertinent questions on the impact of AI to our existing human society and beyond.

I particularly like the ways which the author used simple to understand language and examples to explain key concepts of AI.

In author's words: Artifi
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best and most useful books about the prospects of artificial intelligence in the present and in the near future. It talks about machine intelligence itself, as well as the profound impact that it's going to have on many aspects of our society: medicine, national security, cyber-security, finance, economics, jobs, politics, psychology, sociology and more -- in short, everything that matters. It also discusses some philosophical aspects, like what makes us human and what might e ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Sentient Machine: The Coming of Artificial Intelligence by Amir Husain is a fascinating look at the many implications humans will face as Artificial Intelligence (AI) begins to play a greater role in our society. The Sentient Machine had me at the author's discovery of a Commodore 64 in 1982. I was a senior in a computer class that year. I, like the author since that day, have been mesmerized by technology ever since. The author noted that some would relate to his story while others would no ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ai
This is a good read from a very pro AI expert. The author has a lot of experience with AI and its use in a lot of defense stuff. I agree with his view that impossible to put genie back in bottle and even if we put rules around our use and make international laws that many like Kim Jun Ill will not. Many bad actors will use this technology.

What is the authors advice? Use AI to protect us from AI. Only AI can save us. He also has no fear of an technology including bio/genetic research.

He does poi
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I'm interested in how AI can change our approach to really big problems. Things with lots of data that needs something more sophisticated than a simple filter to tease out unseen linkages. I found this book at the library and thought it would be an interesting primer. Software is eating the world, one industry at a time.

The book isn't all that interesting. I didn't learn anything, except that the author's company wants to adapt AI to build out blockchain smart contracts. This is an area I have g
McKenna Carter
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Husain's viewpoint is extremely biased. In reading the entire book, and all his "thought experiments" and hypotheticals, I struggle to remember a single time where he admitted that AI poses problems that cannot be solved by implementing more AI. It was a very frustrating read, for me. In the beginning, it was really interesting, and I was very intrigued. As I went along, my interest in this particular book--not the subject material--dwindled to nil. I finished the book for two reasons: one, beca ...more
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Overview Of Pervasive AI. This book is a love story to coding and its arguably most advanced manifestation - artificial intelligence. Husain spends quite a bit of time explaining what, exactly, AI is and its history, where we currently are, and where we will be in the near future. He then spends considerable time looking at various areas where AI research is already being done and where it is already having an impact. His praise of the idiot John Maynard Keynes is a bit too effusive, and i ...more
Alex Devero
The Sentient Machine provides a very good and beginner-friendly introduction into AI and machine learning. It briefly explains all important concepts, including GAI. Then, it describes current trends in AI and machine learning. Finally, it shows can AI and machine learning be used for both, good and bad. The part about AI social media bots was quite scary. Anyone who thinks current state of fake news is scary has no idea what can the future bring. What we can see right now on social media is alm ...more
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Amir Husain is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and inventor based in Austin, Texas. He is the founder and CEO of SparkCognition, Inc., a company specializing in cognitive computing software solutions that help businesses and governments better respond to a world of ever-evolving threats, and he was a founding member of IBM's advisory board for Watson. Husain speaks at numerous SXSW, defense, ...more

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“UV/IR vision: use AI to make sense of light invisible to humans • Perfect sound memory: every sound you hear is catalogued forever and searchable with a query • Sound triangulation: when you hear a boom or a pop, your visor or glasses will light up and tell you exactly where it is happening • Perfect recall of imagery: when you take a passing glance at a license plate, its numbers and letters will be permanently captured and searchable • Prompting: AI is always in your head suggesting ideas and integrated into a device like a Fitbit to augment physical goals • “God’s Eye” view: satellite imagery and completely autonomous pocket drones that can feed images directly to your headset, effectively giving you a pair of disembodied eyes in motion • LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensing: remote-sensing methods that can use light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges • Ability to predict exact motion and speed of any object nearby • Ability to see and detect radio waves: pull a radio wave that you perceive out of the ether with the gesture of a swipe and then decode it and catalog it permanently • X-ray vision: Look inside a building through the eyes of your autonomous robotic appendage to see if there is a leak or other technical malfunction” 0 likes
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