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The AI Does Not Hate You: Superintelligence, Rationality and the Race to Save the World
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The AI Does Not Hate You: Superintelligence, Rationality and the Race to Save the World

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  31 reviews

'The AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made of atoms which it can use for something else'

This is a book about AI and AI risk. But it's also more importantly about a community of people who are trying to think rationally about intelligence, and the places that these thoughts are taking them, and what insight they can and can't give us about the fut

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published June 13th 2019 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To my surprise I recommend this for anyone. (The chapters are tiny and I did the whole thing in an hour.) For outsiders it's an honest and nontechnical portrait of a new, strange, and wonderful endeavour; and Chivers shows his path from ordinary sceptical thoughtfulness to taking the idea seriously. (However, there's almost no maths in it, and without maths you can only ever sort-of get the gist. For instance, one of the key premises of the whole programme is very easy to understand if you've ev ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Research reading for my never-to-appear article on Dominic Cummings' accelerationist tendencies. I was torn between giving this one or two stars. In the end I decided one star would be more a reflection of my personal dislike for the 'Rationalist movement' than of the book, just as Chivers' (admitted) sympathy with them colours this deeply uncritical account.

I don't know what I expected. It seems like Chivers wanted to write a book about some people whose blogs he admires, but recognised that an
Dan Elton
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author is a reporter at Buzzfeed, where he does in-depth old school reporting on science topics, not the silly meme stuff.

Overall, I think the author managed to write a fairly even handed analysis of the rationalist community, which turns out to be largely sympathetic to the cause. As someone who attends LessWrong meetups regularly and is studying a lot of the major rationalist writings, I already knew a lot of what he presents. However there were some interesting tidbits sprinkled througho
Andrii Zakharov
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
If you've never heard of the "Rationalist"/LessWrong community, this book does a reasonably good job of an almost balanced introduction (slightly positive skew). The main thread, however, of how the author came to take seriously the risk of superhuman intelligence bringing doom in the next century, is quite weak. As someone familiar with the concepts, it was nothing new and didn't make me update my beliefs at all. Unsure who this book is aimed at - plausibly, it's just an attempt to make the mai ...more
Peter McCluskey
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a sympathetic portrayal of the rationalist movement by a quasi-outsider. It includes a well-organized explanation of why some people expect tha AI will create large risks sometime this century, written in simple language that is suitable for a broad audience.

Caveat: I know many of the people who are described in the book. I've had some sort of connection with the rationalist movement since before it became distinct from transhumanism, and I've been mostly an insider since 2012. I re
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Reasonably thorough history and elaboration of the "Rationalist" community and their preoccupation with the (possibly) looming AI apocalypse.

Chivers approaches this community as a generous and sincere outsider. Which is commendable, though I felt that in places it left him too eager to go along with some of the oddities, failing to provide a critical balance where it would have been helpful.

I'm not talking about the more outlandish beliefs, either -- one thing I think the Rationalists get righ
Henry Cooksley
1 in 6 is the probability Toby Ord assigns to the likelihood of humanity going extinct this century.

This is a book about a lot of things, and it's a significant achievement to create a narrative that spans it all. At times it feels like what I imagine taking a lot of ketamine and trying to sit through a Berkeley philosophy seminar would feel like. At times it is incredibly moving.

It has the feel of a first book, which has positive and negative aspects to it, and there are also quite a few erro
Kerkko Pelttari
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Superintelligence, rationality and the race to save the world

It is a very slim and general overview of the current state of General Artificial Intelligence development and expert evaluations on when it will happen (seemingly between 2030-2100 with over 95% probability).
However, the issue of "why would a superintelligent artificial intelligence want to do seemingly stupid things" was answered very well and comprehensively. Chapter 11 is a good example of this (titled "If I stop caring about chess
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Man, if you had told me a couple years ago that a Buzzfeed writer would write a popular book on AI risk and the rationalist movement, and my main complaint would be that it wasn't sensationalist enough, I would have been very confused. But here we are.

The author seems like a really nice and reasonable person, who thinks AI risk might be important and wants to understand and explain it. But mostly it seems like most rationalists were reasonably pretty wary of talking to a journalist, so he didn't
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an OK book. I was already familiar with the rationality crowd, LessWrong, Roko's Basilisk etc, the book is probably more interesting to people who aren't. But overall it's a good exposition of the subject, which is fascinating, even if you don't like some aspects of the whole rationality movement.

Interestingly, the author's explanation of Roko's Basilisk was the clearest one I've read so far, which shows that having 400 IQ does not mean you can explain things well. (I've never got throu
Hamish Seamus
A previous review mentioned that Gwern makes a cameo. TBH, this was what I was most excited about because he seems like a fascinating character who I'd like to learn more about. Unfortunately, he was only mentioned once, so I didn't learn anything about him. I already knew most of the content of this book, but here's the few things which were new to me:
* A disproportionate number of Tetlock's superforcasters came from Lesswrong
* Story about a rationalist woman who is considering having a baby
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Read this for much the same reason I like to read foreign etiquette guides to my own country. It's mostly Tom Chivers' fond sifting through of the rationalists and their ideas, rather than being squarely a work of community anthropology or an analysis of arguments for AI safety.

Two stars not because I didn't enjoy the read, but because it felt like various critiques of both AI risk and the community were given too little intellectual screentime. Other reviewers have pointed to better critiques o
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book to be an interesting but somewhat difficult read. Parts of the book felt quite informationally dense, making it harder to put down and dive back into.

Despite the title, the book only half focuses on AI safety, with much of the rest of the book covering the community that helped bring AI safety into the mainstream. That's not to say the topic shift is without merit, and for anyone unfamiliar with the Rationalist movement gives an interesting introduction. On the flip side, the i
Jenny Chase
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A surprisingly rollicking read for a book largely about the history of an internet movement, and pretty good at bringing together a lot of things I was vaguely aware of into a somewhat cohesive story, and the author had some great lines. ("I didn't get the impression he was being rude, but I did get the impression he didn't care if I got the impression he was being rude" is a minor one I happened to write down).
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is probably gonna be my "go to" book for birthday presents. :-D

I'm quite familiar with the LessWrong and the Effective Altruism communities, and I'd say this book provides quite a good summary of the main concepts, ideas, people, history, and their drawbacks.

I'd highly recommend it for anyone who's already a "member" of these communities and wants a "family friendly" way of introducing their "normal" friends and family to them.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the rationalist community, and this book was an excellent summary of their history, worldview, and accomplishments. Endorsing without spiraling into blind praise, critical without being condescending. It tells the story of a group of nerds and their unironic quest to save the world and create a utopia.
Iain Hepburn
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating, constantly challenging book that starts out looking at the prospects of AI but then goes deeper into the people looking at what AI means for humanity - and how that has shaped their sub-society and mindset. There is, like a block of maximised paperclips, a lot to unpick.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book when it focused on AI and AI security and risk and not so much when it focused on the social inadequacies of a specific sub-set of people who are interested in AI and whether they constitute a racist sex-cult.
Alain Tieu
Liked : introduce the AI nature and risks via the scope of the Rationalists.
Disliked : the book switches mid-way to an indepth decription of the Rationalists theories and believes... not much related to AI.
Wawa Gilewski
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a book about people on the Rationality - Madness spectrum, their online/IRL quirks and their anxiety-inducing ideas around A(G)I, singularity, Bayesian logic, paperclip maximizer, overcoming bias, effective altruism and more. A subject truly worth diving into!
Julian Lloyd
Jul 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
Whatever this book is about, it isn’t about AI

Having inflicted this book on myself, I counsel you not to waste the time. You will learn a fair amount about the social anthropology of various Silicon Valley pseudo tech cults and little to nothing about AI.
Jacob Williams
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Like the author, I'm sympathetic to, but not really part of, the "rationalist" community. Not many of the ideas discussed here were new to me, but it was interesting to get a bit more historical context about the group.
Felix Öttl
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
It is not so much about AI then about the Rationalist movement. Still interesting, if you want to read about AI, read Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom. (this is my subjective opinion)
Raph Zindi
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book of our time and will be one to reference as AI becomes more noticeable in our existence. A well structured and thought provoking book.
3.5 rounded down.

Talks mostly about the Rationalists than AI but gives a pretty balanced account of what has been happening in the area.
Aaron Estel
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I plan to share this book with just about anyone who is not already a rationalist, but who I'd like to help understand me better. It's a great introduction to the ideas in my community.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Explanations of concepts were too shallow, I stopped reading 2/3 of the way through.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An extremely fair explanation of the online rationality movement, the alignment problem, and the history of same.
Phil Swatton
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating read, ostensibly about AI safety but delving much deeper into an Internet sub-culture of 'rationalists', bayesian statistics, biases in human thinking and ultitarian philosophy - all while remaining accessible and readable. It's a phenomenal achievement and probably one of my favourite non-fiction books (though my interest in the topics discussed no doubt influences this view).
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A book which started so promisingly, but went so swiftly downhill that I don’t even know what hit me. I really enjoyed the initial chapters discussing what AI can do, the ways in which it can evolve to become dangerous, and why efforts by humans (e.g. to “keep it in a cage”) are likely to fail. We then enter into some chapters discussing common human biases, which AI is not susceptible to – while an important idea I thought was over-pushed in a book of this nature. People like Ariely and Kahnema ...more
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