Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities
Author(s): Calum Chace
The science of AI was born a little over 60 years ago, but for most of that time its achievements were modest. In 2012 it experienced a big bang, when a branch of statistics called Machine Learning (and a sub-branch called Deep Learning) was applied to it. Now machines have surpassed humans in image recognition, and they are catching up with us at speech recognition and natural language processing. Every day, the media reports the launch of a new service, a new product, and a new demonstration powered by AI. When will it end? The surprising truth is, the AI revolution has only just begun.
Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities argues that in the course of this century, the exponential growth in the capability of AI is likely to bring about two "singularities" - points at which conditions are so extreme that the normal rules break down. The first is the economic singularity, when machine skill reaches a level that renders many of us unemployable and requires an overhaul of our current economic and social systems. The second is the technological singularity, when machine intelligence reaches and then surpasses the cognitive abilities of an adult human, relegating us to the second smartest species on the planet.
These singularities will present huge challenges, but this book argues that we can meet these challenges and overcome them. If we do, the rewards could be almost unimaginable.
This book covers:
• Recent developments in AI and its future potential
• The economic singularity and the technological singularity in depth
• The risks and opportunities presented by AI
• What actions we should take
Artificial intelligence can turn out to be the best thing ever to happen to humanity, making our future wonderful almost beyond imagination. But only if we address head-on the challenges that it will raise.
Calum Chace is a best-selling author of fiction and non-fiction books and articles, focusing on the subject of artificial intelligence. He is a regular speaker on artificial intelligence and related technologies, and runs a blog on the subject at www.pandoras-brain. com. Prior to becoming a full-time writer and speaker, he spent 30 years in business as a marketer, a strategy consultant, and a CEO. He studied philosophy at Oxford University, where he discovered that the science fiction he had been reading since boyhood was simply philosophy in fancy dress.
"Calum Chace's "Two Singularities"―the arrival of superintelligent AI and the economic replacement of humans by machines on a global scale―are among the greatest challenges we face. This book is an excellent introduction to both. It is thoroughly researched and persuasive. Chace's principal argument seems to be correct: we need to prepare now for the economic singularity or face a serious disruption of our civilization."
―Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science and Smith-Zadeh Professor in Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
"It’s a brilliantly lucid guide to the current state of Artificial intelligence and its possibilities and potential – including the likelihood that it will eliminate employment as we currently know it. What makes this a must-read is what comes next - this is no dystopian alarm but a clarion call to start to thinking about how to cope with this eventuality – and an intriguing guide to some possible destinations. We should all be thinking about these potential problems right now – thankfully Calum has already provided an entertaining and thoughtful roadmap."
―Mark Mardell, Presenter, BBC Radio Four
"Provocative and timely: a highly readable, and well-informed, discussion of potential economic changes that we should be thinking hard about now."
―Margaret Boden, Research Professor of Cognitive Science, Dept. of Informatics, University of Sussex
"Advancements in Artificial Intelligence will be of paramount importance in the years to come, not least in contributing to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, they will present serious socio-economic, ethical, and political challenges. For instance, AI-driven automation will profoundly disrupt the global workplace.
Calum Chace, as an extraordinary thinker and a story-teller, presents a thorough, yet easy-to-digest account of the most pressing issues surrounding Artificial Intelligence. Calum is a true master of presenting plausible scenarios, risk analyses, and creative solutions, which will certainly contribute towards our quest to build a safe, prosperous and happy future."
―Irakli Beridze, Head, Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)
"This book provides a valuable resource charting the history of AI and its current capabilities and limitations. Chace thoroughly explores the possible paths to Technological and Economic Singularity, describing a helpful range of scenarios to stimulate debate. He recognises the amazing potential of AI, but is wise to call for proactive planning to ensure a positive outcome."
―Ray Eitel-Porter, Applied Intelligence Lead UK&I, Accenture
"This is the book I wish I had written. It provides a great introduction to AI, the problems and opportunities it will bring and challenges us all to engage proactively in the conversation we need to have about our future. As I say in all my talks if we don’t proactively change the conversation then we deserve a dystopian future. Let’s start the conversation about protopia and utopia... not just amongst the liberal intellectual elite but across society"
―Shamus Rae, Head of Digital Disruption, KPMG
"Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities is an essential read for anyone concerned about our future wellbeing. Calum is an acknowledged expert on AI and his latest book should attract a very large audience."
―Tim Pike, Economist
This is a complete guide for anyone wanting to understand AI and its impact on our future. As always Calum synthesises complex technical and philosophical concepts, and makes them wonderfully accessible. This book should be read by anyone interested in technology. Our existence is dependent upon all of us tackling the existential challenges that it raises.
―Daniel Hulme, CEO, Satalia, Director of Business Analytics MSc, UCL
"If you are interested in the impact of AI and Automation on our futures, I strongly recommend that you read Calum Chace's new book Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities. He has already written two very succesful books on the topic – Surviving AI: The promise and peril of Artificial Intelligence that came out in 2015 and The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalis, published in 2016. This new book merges the two together with a wealth of new material. The writing style is very clear and entertaining, and Calum's knowledge of the field is truly remarkable. He really has his finger on the pulse of this very fast-moving area – fast moving because the changes are exponential. I very much doubt you could find a better and more well-informed presentation of this extremely important subject. Very highly recommended.
―Simon Thorpe, Director of the Brain & Cognition Research Centre and the Toulouse Mind & Brain Institute
"Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities is an intelligent and provocative glimpse across the event-horizons that may soon face us. It’s a must read both for anyone in industry that is working with these technologies, as well as those who are curious about how we might design the future we want to have. For those of us already well read on the subject, it serves as a solid text-book as to the state of the issues; and a timely reminder that our opportunity to act is now."
―Charles Radclyffe, Visiting Fellow, University of Bristol
"The ideas in this book are of vital importance to all our futures, and Calum has been thinking and writing about them for longer than most. Highly recommended."
―Ben Goldsmith, Menhaden Capital PLC, London