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Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World Hardcover – 30 Sept. 2021
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Technology is putting our humanity at risk to an unprecedented degree. This book is not for engineers who write the code or the policy makers who claim they can regulate it. This is a book for you. Because, believe it or not, you are the only one that can fix it. - Mo Gawdat
Artificial intelligence is smarter than humans. It can process information at lightning speed and remain focused on specific tasks without distraction. AI can see into the future, predicting outcomes and even use sensors to see around physical and virtual corners. So why does AI frequently get it so wrong?
The answer is us. Humans design the algorithms that define the way that AI works, and the processed information reflects an imperfect world. Does that mean we are doomed? In Scary Smart, Mo Gawdat, the internationally bestselling author of Solve for Happy, draws on his considerable expertise to answer this question and to show what we can all do now to teach ourselves and our machines how to live better. With more than thirty years' experience working at the cutting-edge of technology and his former role as chief business officer of Google [X], no one is better placed than Mo Gawdat to explain how the Artificial Intelligence of the future works.
By 2049 AI will be a billion times more intelligent than humans. Scary Smart explains how to fix the current trajectory now, to make sure that the AI of the future can preserve our species. This book offers a blueprint, pointing the way to what we can do to safeguard ourselves, those we love and the planet itself.
A proactive and bold read that provides the shake that humans need to take back our agency over AI, and therefore the fate of the world as we see it. -- Dr Camilla Pang, author of Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us About Life, Love and Relationships
From a brilliant mind comes a terrifying prediction - our puny efforts will not be enough to control the rise of the machines... Mo takes us on a whirlwind exploration of the fast-approaching singularity, and offers a desperate last chance to have a say in the future of humanity. Read this book! -- Tim Ash, bestselling author of Unleash Your Primal Brain
Scary Smart is unlike anything I’ve ever read . . . What Mo does is help us analyze what it means to be human, by looking at what can or cannot happen with the rise of artificial intelligence. -- Poppy Jamie, author and founder of Happy Not Perfect
Our brain fog about artificial intelligence makes it both exciting and terrifying in equal measure, Mo Gawdat is the expert guide you need to help decipher the realities of a complex subject. Mo writes so beautifully that a complex subject reads like a page turner. -- Bruce Daisley, Former Twitter VP and bestselling author of The Joy of Work
As we face the future we can either choose to deny reality and suffer or face reality head on. We can withdraw into our own private worlds and give up on humanity or remain joyful and engaged to do our part to improve our future for our children, grandchildren, and future generations. The choice is ours. I’m choosing to “go with Mo.” -- Jed Diamond, PhD, author of The Enlightened Marriage and Twelve Rules for Good Men
I am so grateful for Mo's work - his ability to distill big ideas, share mind-blowing research and inspire change alongside kindness. His words have had a profound tangible impact on my life. No one ever regrets reading anything Mo Gawdat has written. -- Emma Gannon, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method and host of award-winning podcast Ctrl Alt Delete
The call from Mo is loud and clear: this is the greatest responsibility of our lifetimes - to evolve and take full responsibility for how we allow reality, and in this case AI, to echo back to us our inner thoughts and actions. Thank you for giving us this genius catalyst. -- John Sanei, Future Strategist, best-selling author and Singularity University faculty member.
Mo Gawdat shows, in this beautifully written book, the grave threat posed to humanity by failing to live up to our responsibility as AI's parents. He has the wisdom to know that the solution requires learning to love. -- Donald Robertson, author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor
In Scary Smart, Mo Gawdat fans the flames of all the classic fears about artificial intelligence. Then, he points out all the fire extinguishers and teaches us how to use them. -- Dr Robert Blswas-Diener, author of The Upside of Your Dark Side
Mo Gawdat’s book Scary Smart offers a fresh perspective on Artificial Intelligence. Rather than simply focus on the future impact of AI on people’s lives, he highlights the importance of the values we impart to it, rather like parents. His in-depth knowledge of the industry, coupled with his ability to examine what it means to be human, makes fascinating reading. This book has given me a whole new perspective on how we envisage our world. Artificial Intelligence is not separate from us, it reflects our human-ness, so we better get it right. -- Bodour Al Qasimi, Founder and CEO of Kalimat Publishing Group
I believe Mo is one of the most important voices of our time. He possess a rare combination of authenticity, insight and intelligence. Scary Smart is ultimately a book about taking responsibility and working with the facts. It’s a fascinating read that addresses the very real concerns of Artifical Intelligence for all our futures. This book will challenge you in a very healthy way. -- Owen O'Kane, psychotherapist and Sunday Times bestselling author
It takes a great writer to make something so complex seem so simple to a bloke like me. Mo Gawdat is a truly great writer. Combining decades of experience in business and technology with his research and writings on happiness and philosophy, my eyes were opened to just how smart (and scary) the digital world around us is about to become... and exactly what it may mean for us mere humans. -- Adam Ashton, host of the What You Will Learn podcast
Mo Gawdat's book brilliantly explores one of the most pressing issues of our time. He does it with simplicity while not compromising on rigor; the scope of his project is broad while his insights are deep. Reading Scary Smart can help us become smarter about what we do today, so that we can better prepare for, and be less scared of, the future. -- Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, Founder of the Happiness Studies Academy
It’s time to choose. …Avoid reality and hide or empower yourself and lead on. Will you give up on our best self - your humanity - or be proactive, engaged and dynamic to enhance our future with more human values? There is always a choice. …. “go with Mo.”… BE MORE HUMAN. That’s my choice. -- Rajshree Patel, author of The Power of Vital Force
This book is scary good. It will open your eyes to all the ways that AI already shapes our daily lives and to the choices we face in creating a future where we are no longer in charge. Mo Gawdat asks what it is about being human that we most want to preserve, and then shows us the urgency of fighting for those values each time we choose where to click. -- Dr. Robert Waldinger, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Harvard Study of Adult Development
There is no more important message for humanity than the content of Scary Smart. We must take responsibility for our future with respect to AI, and lean into the power of human love and trust. Mo Gawdat is the best person I know, to bring these solutions to us in a tangible and thought provoking way. Choose this book to choose a better path and purpose in life. -- Tara Swart, Neuroscientist and bestselling author of The Source
Whether AI will help or harm humankind is ultimately in our hands. In Scary Smart, Mo Gawdat helps us understand how sci-fi is now sci-fact and the actions we need to take to create AI for good and in turn create good AI. -- Helen Tupper, co-author of The Squiggly Career
Mo is an exquisite writer and speaker with deep expertise of technology as well as a passionate appreciation for the importance of human connection and happiness. He possesses a set of overlapping skills and a breadth of knowledge in the fields of both human psychology and tech which is a rarity. This book will teach you how to navigate the scary and inevitable intrusion of AI as well as who really is in control. Us. -- Dr Rupy Aujla, MBBS, BSc, MRCGP, Founder of "The Doctor's Kitchen"
Reading Mo’s outstanding book Scary Smart reminded me of Gandhi’s Seven Blunders of the World, one of which is SCIENCE WITHOUT HUMANITY. We have used our knowledge to exploit, dominate, oppress, impoverish humanity for personal gains. Now the same people are creating Artificial Intelligence. How do we know AI will not be worse than the Genuine Intelligence that brought us to this sorry state? -- Arun Gandhi, Peace Farmer and Grandson of Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi
In Scary Smart, Mo Gawdat gives a tour de force in educating us both in regard to the dangers of artificial intelligence but also shining a mirror on our own failings and biases which prevent us from seeing this reality. It always offers us a clear path to our own salvation. Humbling and profound. -- James R. Doty, M.D., founder of the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop
About the Author
- Publisher : Pan Macmillan; Main Market edition (30 Sept. 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 338 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1529077184
- ISBN-13 : 978-1529077186
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Dimensions : 15.6 x 2.06 x 23.39 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 7,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from United Kingdom
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The tone offered is that if a slightly frustrated uncle telling you stuff is bad - that our AI is based on the worst masculine style traits (in short: AI is a yuppie 80s stockbroker) - and then offering solutions to remedy the issue that do not come across as compelling in any way whatsoever.
Basically: life will be awful, it’ll all go downhill, the odds are totally stacked against you… but occasionally you’ll see your football team win.
I honestly can’t tell you if this is because Mr. Gawdat is trying to simplify immensely complex topics and get down to the crux of the problem for every type of reader.
I do not know if it’s because he’s a slave to the conversational style he used to create this (narrating rather than writing the book) which changes the feel utterly, and it does have shades of reading a transcript at times.
Or, it could be that this text was actually written (developed? Spawned?) by an AI bot which is why it was so sparsely referenced, simply circular and most annoyingly…
… uses ellipsis and mid line placement to stress what it thinks are important points, like an 8 year old’s creative writing.
There wasn’t much depth into topics: yes AI could be good or bad and it’s there in all the cliche ways you would expect.
I’m in education and have an interest in the (unsubstantiated) promise of AI for democratising learning, so read bits and pieces of articles online and that cursory reading covered everything I came across here. I really was expecting something new, critical or timely. But maybe this was for the ground Zero reader.
Maybe the writer was caught somewhere between accessibility and meaning when writing it. Or the AI bot, the real ‘author’, wrote it confusingly to simply assess our reviews of it to see how blasé humans were to their impending destruction.
I could imagine the AI bot literally dredged up the fist half of the book’s section from a ‘doom and gloom of AI’ search and then the other half from ‘positive online mentality’ one. Then a chapter on love which you could have put in or taken from ANY self-development book of the last 20 years.
The solution-to-problem relationship is like trying to use afly swatter to bat away a nuclear warhead.
I’m not sure where the positivity spoken of is - Gawdat’s answer is again, like so much current tosh: be stoic and mindful in the face of the unrelenting tsunami of social media, online advertising and coercion activity, and In doing this we will teach AI to be nice (?!?!?!)
With addiction rates, body dissatisfaction and every marker of anxiety, suicide, etc etc showing that the online world is having detrimental effects; the solution offered to stop the 80s inspired Cut throat AI is a complete non-starter.
It’s also worth remembering that his ‘be more discerning’ solution aimed at adults, is at least in line with a POSSIBLE reality of people his age who Remember a life without phones AND INTERNET. Asking the upcoming generation to have those traits is chocolate teapot time.
There are some lovely summaries though. And this section sums up the situation perfectly:
‘We are creating a non-biological form of intelligence that, at its seed, is a replica of the masculine geek mind. In its infancy it is being assigned the mission of enabling the capitalist, imperialistic ambitions of the few – selling, spying, killing and gambling. We are creating a self-learning machine which, at its prime, will become the reflection – or rather the magnification – of the cumulative human traits that created it. To ensure they’re good, obedient kids, we’re going to use intimidation through algorithms of punishment and reward, and mechanisms of control to ensure they stick to a code of ethics that we, ourselves, are unable to agree upon, let alone abide by.
That’s what we are creating – childhood trauma times a trillion.’
Good luck finding a happy end to all this out of that unless of course you do believe , as it asks you to, love will heal all.
This book has made me more interested in the subject though, and I would read more by the writer. It’s easy to get through if not compelling, if this was the starting point for first timers to the subject, I think they would have enjoyed the ride.
The chatty, offhand, simplified and repetitive dictated writing style was not to my liking and I found the few overarching points that are made to be extremely laboured.
Essentially, AI is coming, no-one knows what that will mean, but prepare for terrible things unless we all better ourselves and do more yoga or something. At times it reads more like a self help book, rather than offering any interesting insights about AI.
I hoped for much much more.
An enlightening must read for everyone!