A call-to-arms about the broken nature of artificial intelligence, and the powerful corporations that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head.
We like to think that we are in control of the future of "artificial" intelligence. The reality, though, is that we--the everyday people whose data powers AI--aren't actually in control of anything. When, for example, we speak with Alexa, we contribute that data to a system we can't see and have no input into--one largely free from regulation or oversight. The big nine corporations--Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Microsoft, IBM and Apple--are the new gods of AI and are short-changing our futures to reap immediate financial gain.
In this book, Amy Webb reveals the pervasive, invisible ways in which the foundations of AI--the people working on the system, their motivations, the technology itself--is broken. Within our lifetimes, AI will, by design, begin to behave unpredictably, thinking and acting in ways which defy human logic. The big nine corporations may be inadvertently building and enabling vast arrays of intelligent systems that don't share our motivations, desires, or hopes for the future of humanity.
Much more than a passionate, human-centered call-to-arms, this book delivers a strategy for changing course, and provides a path for liberating us from algorithmic decision-makers and powerful corporations.
"The Big Nine is provocative, readable, and relatable. Amy Webb demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the science driving AI and the geopolitical tensions that could result between the US and China in particular. She offers deep insights into how AI could reshape our economies and the current world order, and she details a plan to help humanity chart a better course."―Anja Manuel, Stanford University, cofounder and partner RiceHadleyGates
"The Big Nine is an important and intellectually crisp work that illuminates the promise and peril of AI. Will AI serve its three current American masters in Washington, Silicon Valley and Wall Street or will it serve the interests of the broader public? Will it concentrate or disperse economic and geopolitical power? We can thank Amy Webb for helping us understand the questions and how to arrive at answers that will better serve humanity than our current path. The Big Nine should be discussed in classrooms and boardrooms around the world."―Alec Ross, author of The Industries of the Future
"The Big Nine makes bold predictions regarding the future of AI. But unlike many other prognosticators, Webb sets sensationalism aside in favor of careful arguments, deep historical context, and a frightening degree of plausibility."―Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law and professor of Computer Science, Harvard University
"The Big Nine is thoughtful and provocative, taking the long view and most of all raising the right issues around AI and providing a road map for an optimistic future with AI."―Peter Schwartz, senior vice president, Salesforce.com, and author of The Art of the Long View
"Webb's potential scenarios for specific futures are superb, providing detailed visions for society to avoid as well as achieve."―John C. Havens, executive director, IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems
"Her writing is very clear and accessible, and the interesting analogies she uses to illustrate what may occur when algorithms make decisions for us make for compelling reading. This fascinating look at how AI will continue to revolutionize human experiences in unimaginable ways will appeal to anyone interested in AI, human-computer interactions, and machine learning in the private and public sectors."―Booklist
PRAISE FOR THE SIGNALS ARE TALKING:
"Webb teaches us to listen...[she] combines well-researched, reader-friendly insights on Google, drones and artificial intelligence with a system of questions you can bring to your next strategy meeting..."―Chicago Tribune
"Webb provides a logical way to sift through today's onslaught of events and information to spot coming changes in your corner of the world." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Sitting somewhere between Nate Silver and The Tipping Point, Amy Webb's book provides a practical guide for leaders - at any level - in the age of Big Data, offering tools for picking out the 'true signal, a pattern that will coalesce into a trend with the potential to change everything' - and land on the right side of disruption." ―Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review (An Amazon Best Book of December 2016)