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Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control (Paperback)
  • Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control (Paperback)

Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control (Paperback)

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Paperback 384 Pages
Published: 30/04/2020
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Longlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year

Humans dream of super-intelligent machines. But what happens if we actually succeed?

Creating superior intelligence would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, according to the world's pre-eminent AI expert, it could also be the last.

In this groundbreaking book, Stuart Russell sets out why he has come to consider his own discipline an existential threat to humanity, and how we can change course before it's too late. In brilliant and lucid prose, he explains how AI actually works and its enormous capacity to improve our lives - and why we must never lose control of machines more powerful than we are. Russell contends that we can avert the worst threats by reshaping the foundations of AI to guarantee that machines pursue our objectives, not theirs. Profound, urgent and visionary, Human Compatible is the one book everyone needs to read to understand a future that is coming sooner than we think.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780141987507
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 281 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 21 mm


'Surely the most important book on AI this year.' - Ian Sample, The Guardian, Book of the Day

'A brilliantly clear and fascinating exposition of the history of computing thus far, and how very difficult true AI will be to build.' - Steven Poole, The Spectator

'Fascinating and significant.' - James McConnachie, The Sunday Times

'Worth reading Human Compatible by Stuart Russell (he's great!) about future AI risks and solutions.' - Elon Musk, Twitter

'A thought-provoking and highly readable account of the past, present and future of AI . . . Russell deploys a bracing intellectual rigour . . . but a laconic style and dry humour keep his book accessible to the lay reader.' - The Financial Times

'It's asking a lot of a book about the potential end of civilisation to be strewn with humour and wry asides, but this is what Russell manages . . . it's worth sticking with, for the sake of the species.' - Best Science, Nature and Ideas Books of 2019, The Guardian

'An excellent, nuanced history.' - The Telegraph, Best New Science Books for Christmas

'Russell is an assiduous and conscientious scholar ... [he] provides a wealth of information. This is one of those intellectual voyages where both the journey and the destination matter.' - John Naughton, The Literary Review

'This is the most important book I have read in quite some time. It lucidly explains how the coming age of artificial super-intelligence threatens human control. Crucially, it also introduces a novel solution and a reason for hope.' - Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

'Of the many books published this year on artificial intelligence, this is probably the best. Stimulating and scary stuff.' - Best Books of 2019: Technology, The Financial Times

'A must-read: this intellectual tour-de-force by one of AI's true pioneers not only explains the risks of ever more powerful artificial intelligence in a captivating and persuasive way, but also proposes a concrete and promising solution.' - Professor Max Tegmark, MIT, author of Life 3.0

'Stuart Russell has long been the most sensible voice in computer science on the topic of AI risk. And he has now written the book we've all been waiting for. Human Compatible is a brilliant and utterly accessible guide to what will be either the best or worst technological development in human history.' - Sam Harris, author of five New York Times bestsellers and host of the Making Sense podcast

'Human Compatible made me a convert to Russell's concerns with our ability to control our upcoming creation – super-intelligent machines. Unlike outside alarmists and futurists, Russell is a leading authority on AI. His new book will educate the public about AI more than any book I can think of, and is a delightful and uplifting read.' - Judea Pearl, Turing Award-winner and author of The Book of Why

'Stuart Russell, one of the most important AI scientists of the last 25 years, may have written the most important book about AI so far, on one of the most important questions of the 21st century: How to build AI to be compatible with us. The book proposes a novel and intriguing solution for this problem, while offering many thought-provoking ideas and insights about AI along the way. An accessible and engaging must-read for the developers of AI and the users of AI - that is, for all of us.' - James Manyika, Chairman and director of McKinsey Global Institute

'The man set on stopping the machines taking over.' - The Telegraph

'In clear and compelling language, Stuart Russell describes the huge potential benefits of Artificial Intelligence, as well as the hazards and ethical challenges. It's specially welcome that a respected leading authority should offer this balanced appraisal, avoiding both hype and scaremongering.' - Professor Martin Rees, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of Cambridge, and author of On the Future

'A strong case for planning for the day when machines can outsmart us.' - Kirkus Review

'Persuasively argued and lucidly imagined, Human Compatible offers an unflinching, incisive look at what awaits us in the decades ahead. Stuart Russell's diagnosis of the risks and dangers of AI is convincing, and his prescription for action is compelling. No researcher has argued more persuasively about the risks of AI, nor has shown more clearly a pathway forward. Anyone who takes the future seriously should pay attention.' - Brian Christian, author of Algorithms to Live By

'Can we coexist happily with the intelligent machines that humans will create? "Yes," answers Human Compatible, "but first..." Through a brilliant reimagining of the foundations of artificial intelligence, Russell takes you on a journey from the very beginning, explaining the questions raised by an AI-driven society and beautifully making the case for how to ensure machines remain beneficial to humans. A totally readable and crucially important guide to the future from one of the world's leading experts.' - Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX and Head of the UK Government's AI Council

'The same mix of de-mystifying authority and practical advice that Dr. Benjamin Spock once brought to the care and raising of children, Dr. Stuart Russell now brings to the care, raising, and yes, disciplining of machines. He has written the book that most -- but perhaps not all -- machines would like you to read.' - George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral and Project Orion

'This beautifully written book addresses a fundamental challenge for humanity: increasingly intelligent machines that do what we ask but not what we really intend. Essential reading if you care about our future.' - Professor Yoshua Bengio, Computer Science and Operations Research, Universite de Montreal, winner of the 2018 Turing Award

'A book that charts humanity's quest to understand intelligence, pinpoints why it became unsafe, and shows how to course-correct if we want to survive as a species. Stuart Russell, author of the leading AI textbook, can do all that with the wealth of knowledge of a prominent AI researcher and the persuasive clarity and wit of a brilliant educator.' - Jaan Tallinn, co-founder of Skype

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“Hampshire reader”

A quite good book. Earlier and later parts more interesting. Quite a lot of the assumptions on future AI use/robotic use seems fundamentally flawed since so many real world activities are not easily or economically... More

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