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Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

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How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology--and there's nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who's helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. How can How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology--and there's nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who's helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today's kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle? What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn't shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues--from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.


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How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology--and there's nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who's helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. How can How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology--and there's nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who's helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today's kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle? What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn't shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues--from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.

30 review for Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

  1. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Last week, I read Nick Bostrom's groundbreaking Superintelligence , an extremely serious, well thought out look at the dangers of creating real artificial intelligences. It left me feeling more than a little concerned: despite working in AI myself, I had not fully appreciated how scary it is. I've just finished this book, written about three years after Bostrom's, and now I'm even more concerned. Bostrom's book has the air of being primarily intended for senior policy-makers in industry and go Last week, I read Nick Bostrom's groundbreaking Superintelligence , an extremely serious, well thought out look at the dangers of creating real artificial intelligences. It left me feeling more than a little concerned: despite working in AI myself, I had not fully appreciated how scary it is. I've just finished this book, written about three years after Bostrom's, and now I'm even more concerned. Bostrom's book has the air of being primarily intended for senior policy-makers in industry and government. It's dry and formal in tone, relentlessly footnoted, full of difficult words, and seldom goes out its way to try and entertain you. It appears to be the product of a great deal of diligent work, and the dominant note is one of a dire, Cassandra-like warning. But despite the fact that it quotes Bostrom on every other page, Tegmark's book is pretty much the opposite: it's manic and chatty, dumbed down to one of the lower common denominators, poorly structured, and full of winsome autobiographical revelations and engaging little science-fiction stories. I could have taken all that - I've read Tegmark's previous book, and I'm familiar with his style - but what really worries me is that he's trying to make us feel optimistic and hopeful. It'll be okay! He's founded his Future of Life Institute, all sorts of prominent AI people have joined up, they're organising conferences on AI safety and an incredible ongoing web conversation which anybody can join, and pretty soon they'll have the answer! Well, if you believe that you'll believe anything. As Bostrom explains, the problems here are not technical issues that can be addressed by good engineering. They are foundational philosophical questions that have been discussed for thousands of years without a great deal of progress having been made. It's readily conceivable that there are no solutions to them, and there's nothing available right now which even looks vaguely like a possible road towards a solution. Anyone expecting a magic fix to turn up over the next couple of decades is probably also expecting it to be delivered in person by the Easter Bunny riding a pink fluffy unicorn. And yet Tegmark goes on and on about his preferred future, where we become spacefaring AIs who head out, à la Olaf Stapledon, to transform the universe into one huge superintelligence which, after several billion years of development, will be able to perform ten to some very big number of computations per second. He spends inordinately many pages explaining various tweaks, all of which will no doubt be invalidated by the next major discovery in physics, that mean that it will be ten to this big number rather than ten to some slightly smaller big number. Why we're supposed to do it is never once explained. Stapledon's Cosmic Mind gets to make contact with the Star Maker, which at least is a worthy goal, but what Tegmark is hoping for is beyond me. I guess it's just, you know, cool. But all the same, we're supposed to stake the whole future of humanity on this bizarre and geeky dream. If Tegmark were a moron, I would be slightly reassured. I figured out some time ago that many books are written by morons. But he's a very clever person, who, at least on his own account, has considerable influence over the Secret International Network of Very Clever People. I suppose he may be fronting the superintelligent AI who's currently taking over the world; I don't know if that would make it better or worse, but at least it would make it more comprehensible. Aaaargh! To conclude, I can't do better than to quote a couple of passages which frequently occurred to me while reading Life 3.0. The first, taken from the final section of Bostrom's book, is one conspicuously not cited by Tegmark:Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb. Such is the mismatch between the power of our plaything and the immaturity of our conduct. Superintelligence is a challenge for which we are not ready now and will not be ready for a long time. We have little idea when the detonation will occur, though if we hold the device to our ear we can hear a faint ticking sound. For a child with an undetonated bomb in its hands, a sensible thing to do would be to put it down gently, quickly back out of the room, and contact the nearest adult. Yet what we have here is not one child but many, each with access to an independent trigger mechanism. The chances that we will all find the sense to put down the dangerous stuff seem almost negligable. Some little idiot is bound to press the ignite button just to see what happens.The second passage, which has been one of my favorites since I was a teen, is from another exceptionally clear-sighted book, Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle:And I remembered The Fourteenth Book of Bokonon, which I had read in its entirety the night before. The Fourteenth Book is entitled 'What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experiences of the Past Million Years?' It doesn't take long to read The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period. This is it: 'Nothing.'________________________ [And on further consideration...] As you can see, I found Life 3.0 extremely annoying. But at the same time, I also appreciate the point Tegmark makes, that it doesn't help just to say that we're all going to die. Some more positive approach is required. It seems to me, given the analysis in Bostrom's very sensible book, that there is little chance of making superintelligence 'safe' in any normal sense of the word. If we create a superintelligence, it will almost certainly replace us before long. So it follows that we have two realistic choices: a) Do not create a superintelligence. b) Create a superintelligence that we could happily envisage replacing us. I think most people will go for (a). If we are even going to consider (b), I would say that the priority should be to develop AIs with qualities that people will value, and which they feel are characteristic of what it truly means to be human. Some obvious candidates include creativity, humour, curiosity, honesty, appreciation of beauty, empathy and love. Tegmark briefly mentions "creativity", though his analysis of the already renowned move 37 in the second AlphaGo-Lee Sedol game is as superficial as the rest of the book. I see no real discussion of the other qualities.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brian Clegg

    I have to confess that my first reaction to this book was not anything to do with the contents, but trying to work out if there was something really clever about the the way the book's title is printed on the spine in white on cream, so it's illegible - would it be, for example, a subtle test of human versus artificial intelligence (AI)? However, that was just a distraction. Max Tegmark is an interesting and provocative thinker in the physics arena, so I had high hopes for what he'd come up with I have to confess that my first reaction to this book was not anything to do with the contents, but trying to work out if there was something really clever about the the way the book's title is printed on the spine in white on cream, so it's illegible - would it be, for example, a subtle test of human versus artificial intelligence (AI)? However, that was just a distraction. Max Tegmark is an interesting and provocative thinker in the physics arena, so I had high hopes for what he'd come up with exploring the future of AI and its relationship to human beings. It's worth explaining that the title of the book refers to three 'levels' of life where 1.0 is 'can survive and replicate' (e.g. bacteria), 2.0 is can design its own software (e.g. us - where 'software' refers to our concepts, ideas and extended abilities such as language) and 3.0 is can design its own hardware, enabling it to transform itself more directly and quickly than our creativity enables us to do. The book starts with a bit of fiction, which I'm usually nervous about, but it actually works very well, as it's presented more like a non-fiction description of a business development rather than attempting all the quirks of fiction. In it we have a semi-plausible description of how a company that succeeds in producing a self-enhancing AI could take over the world. And this is genuinely thought-provoking. So, early on, I was convinced I was going to love this book. But unfortunately there is an awful lot of futurology in here (aka guesswork) and like all futurology, Tegmark's can be frustratingly specific about things that we are highly unlikely to be able to predict - though at least he recognises this is the case and points it out. He covers the various ways a super-intelligent AI could develop, whether it would become a rogue, how we'd interact with it... and then plunges on into more and more dramatic speculation, including a chapter that looks forward 'the next billion years and more.' Forgive me for feeling a bit 'So what?' about this. There is no doubt the whole business of super-AIs is an issue that needs thinking about and discussing - and Tegmark does this in an approachable and engaging fashion. It probably needs reading alongside Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence to get a well-rounded picture, though. It would have helped if it had been significantly shorter - it came across as being long because it was the kind of 'big book' that has to be chunky, and I think it would have been a lot more effective at half its length. One particular section that was ripe for trimming had a long list of scenarios, each of which was then worked through - dull reading, I'm afraid. In the end futurology is a bit like being told about someone else's dream. It probably seems fascinating to them, but it's hard to get too excited about it as a reader. Life 3.0 is an interesting book, but feels rather like a pet project, rather than a strong popular science title.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lor-El

    Unlike the author, I will try to be concise and make my point clear: 1) There is so much name-dropping (authors, books, theories, Ivy League Universities, tv shows, movies... you name it, it's gonna be there) and basically it seems like a secondary literature review rather than an original work. 2) Some chapters feels like fillers, put there just to make the book thicker, they add little to no useful information on Humans and AIs whatsoever. 3) The long awaited (like, 300+ pages awaited) chapter Unlike the author, I will try to be concise and make my point clear: 1) There is so much name-dropping (authors, books, theories, Ivy League Universities, tv shows, movies... you name it, it's gonna be there) and basically it seems like a secondary literature review rather than an original work. 2) Some chapters feels like fillers, put there just to make the book thicker, they add little to no useful information on Humans and AIs whatsoever. 3) The long awaited (like, 300+ pages awaited) chapters on all the ethical questions and consciousness, which would have made the book worth reading for me, are just a scratch on the surface and do not delve into the depth of these multilayered issues. A show like "Person of Interest" (which, although the Prometheus-AI takeover described in the book is uncannily similar to the one perpetrated by Samaritan, is not even once cited in the book) did a better job at dealing with both ethics, machine learning and how human deal with two sentient and very different ASI. And I know... I know, "that's just sci-fi" but ultimately, so is this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Deep Learning Architectures: “Life 3.0 - Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark “Life 3.0, which can design not only its software but also its hardware. In other words, Life 3.0 is the master of its own destiny, finally fully free from its evolutionary shackles.”   In “Life 3.0 - Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark   See how good your PC is as it ages or you want to install a better If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Deep Learning Architectures: “Life 3.0 - Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark “Life 3.0, which can design not only its software but also its hardware. In other words, Life 3.0 is the master of its own destiny, finally fully free from its evolutionary shackles.”   In “Life 3.0 - Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark   See how good your PC is as it ages or you want to install a better graphics card, does the driver play nice with everything? Are you competent enough to sort it out or are you the sort of person who offloads that to IT? The guys in IT are like ducks or swans, all seems serene on the surface but underneath they are paddling hard to stay afloat. They are one badly written security update away from disaster. Do they install the latest security patch or wait for others to see what happens? Also, the more complex a system becomes the more subject it is to critical failures from minor changes, the more they become like having 100 spinning plates on the go at once. If your bank's computer goes belly up just as the proceeds from your house sale are sailing through the system from one solicitor to another is there enough of a data trail to prove it existed? Do you feel lucky? In this day and age, when the state-of-affairs is like the one I’m describing above, can we still talk about AI?       If you're into Computer Science, read on.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ScienceOfSuccess

    tl;dr My animated summary ofLife 3.0 is available here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=9XIcOo5mwQ4 We are approaching times when machines start to understand our world. There is a possibility, that in the near future we will be working with Artificial Intelligence as equal partners. This idea divided people into two groups. Some people expect androids to be our slaves, and others think that people will be working for AI. How should we approach this new age? Should we destroy all electronics, or work tl;dr My animated summary ofLife 3.0 is available here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=9XIcOo5mwQ4 We are approaching times when machines start to understand our world. There is a possibility, that in the near future we will be working with Artificial Intelligence as equal partners. This idea divided people into two groups. Some people expect androids to be our slaves, and others think that people will be working for AI. How should we approach this new age? Should we destroy all electronics, or work harder to make AI more powerful as soon as possible? Max Tegmark talks about every possible argument and every point of view regarding AI. It’s hard to find the main conclusion, because we have only theories. I found that a lot of those possibilities made me think more about my future and life overall. The author did an amazing job explaining the most likely outcomes with comparisons so simple, that even grandmas lacking technology knowledge could understand it. I never enjoyed science fiction, but Max used popular stories to better show ways AI development could go and kept it simple, steered clear of exaggerations. This is a must-read, whether you are a supporter or an opponent of AI.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gary Beauregard Bottomley

    Nothing in this book was original. All of the many topics covered in this book were covered in other books that I have read previously. There was definitely a tedious feel to each of the chapters. I think there is no more important or interesting topic then super AI and the author is right when he wants to highlight the topic, but, please tell me things I don’t already know. The author started each chapter by telling me something that I had already knew, then he would tell me almost nothing more Nothing in this book was original. All of the many topics covered in this book were covered in other books that I have read previously. There was definitely a tedious feel to each of the chapters. I think there is no more important or interesting topic then super AI and the author is right when he wants to highlight the topic, but, please tell me things I don’t already know. The author started each chapter by telling me something that I had already knew, then he would tell me almost nothing more than what I knew, then he would summarize what he had said as if I had not already had read it elsewhere or within the chapter. Overall, the lack of depth of each topic presented made for a tedious presentation. I’m not even bothered by the things I think he got wrong. He makes a categorical error on the nature of our feelings. He thinks of them as things or objects which give us our subjective reality (subjectivity is his standard for self awareness, consciousness). I don’t think our feeling are things. He also appealed to S1 (quick) verse S2 (reflective) memory states. He had brought that up right after mentioning Popper’s falsification criteria. I found that somewhat ironic because S1 S2 definitely fall into the pseudo-science realm because there is no experiment in principal that I could design that would refute that S1 S2 paradigmatic hypothesis. I had a lot of these kinds of problems with this book, but the book failed mostly because it was superficial and it did not give a compelling narrative to wow the reader. There is no more interesting topic than super AI. It gets at the heart of what it means to be human, what our purpose and meaning is, what is consciousness, is there other complex life in the universe (yes, super AI relates to the Fermi paradox with self replicating von Neumann machines), and even whether or not we are living within a simulation (by all means, check out Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ‘are we living in a simulation’ hosted debate. It is well worth the two hours), and there is a way to tie Martin Heidegger into the discussion because his ready-at-hand, present-at-hand, and dasein schema means that solipsism is nonsensical and conscious (self aware) machines are not possible (his opinion, not mine), or one could mention Hegel in detail on these topics because of his relating the in itself to the for itself to the other (or in other words the subjective to the objective to spirit, or self awareness) but this author definitely didn’t have much philosophy behind him and it showed by his lack of depth regarding philosophy or philosophy of science. I have a weakness for books about AI. There should be no way that they bore me, but this author did that by not being able to connect the dots and by only telling me things that were overly familiar and having no real philosophical background as a foundation. (Read Bostrom’s , or Kurzweil’s, or Pedro Domingos’ book, or either of Harari’s books. Each (except for Domingo) was mentioned in this book).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrei Khrapavitski

    Just finished listening to an audio version of "Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence," a new book by Max Tegmark. His "My Mathematical Universe" is one of my favorites, so I was really looking forward to his new book. And he didn't disappoint. This is a gripping text for anyone interested in AI and the future of life on our planet and beyond. Without a doubt, this is the most important conversation of our times. If you fail to see why it is so important, consider this. Mos Just finished listening to an audio version of "Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence," a new book by Max Tegmark. His "My Mathematical Universe" is one of my favorites, so I was really looking forward to his new book. And he didn't disappoint. This is a gripping text for anyone interested in AI and the future of life on our planet and beyond. Without a doubt, this is the most important conversation of our times. If you fail to see why it is so important, consider this. Most AI experts and industry insiders predict that artificial general intelligence (human-level and above) will become a reality either in a couple of decades or within this century. If someone told you that aliens are heading toward our planet and will land in some 20 years, I guess a lot of people, I mean really a lot of people, would start to freak out. Politicians, the academe, etc. would start thinking hard what to do about it. We are in a similar situation with AI research. Considering the incredible progress made in the field, it is time to think how to make sure AGI, if/when created, is beneficial to humanity. If you are wondering about the title of the book, Tegmark posits that Life 1.0 is life where both the hardware and software are evolved rather than designed (for example, bacteria). Humans, on the other hand, are examples of “Life 2.0”: life whose hardware is evolved, but whose software is largely designed. By software Tegmark means all the algorithms and knowledge that we use to process the information from our senses and decide what to do—everything from the ability to recognize your friends when you see them to your ability to walk, read, write, calculate, sing and tell jokes. Finally, Life 3.0 designs and upgrades both its software and hardware. In summary he divides the development of life into three stages, distinguished by life’s ability to design itself: • Life 1.0 (biological stage): evolves its hardware and software • Life 2.0 (cultural stage): evolves its hardware, designs much of its software • Life 3.0 (technological stage): designs its hardware and software. In fact, considering the current progress with prosthetics, cochlear devices, etc., he says, we are more like Life 2.1 already. But he thinks it is more likely that AGI will be created faster than any cyborg-style mind uploading becomes a reality (for description of that vision, see an interesting book "The Age of Em" by by Robin Hanson). Tegmark begins his book with a pretty realistic scenario of a superintelligence break-out. Reads like a sci-fi thriller but is in fact much better than what Hollywood has come up with so far on this subject. He then explores the current state of research into machine learning and some breakthroughs in the field. Then he tries to imagine the near and more distant future. It takes a physicist to write a compelling vision how far life can progress if limited only by the laws of physics. This part of the book is truly mind-boggling even if most of it can hardly be achievable due to various limitations and possible cosmocalypses (also described by the author). Then he explores the subject of consciousness. Many people view AGI as our descendants. Even if they choose to eliminate us, they will live on and continue the story of life in our part of the observable Universe. Well, what if what we create are zombies without any consciousness? Tegmark discusses what consciousness could be, briefly considers Integrated information theory as a viable explanation of the phenomenon, but also enumerates the most common criticisms of the theory. "Consciousness is the way information feels when being processed in certain ways," he summarizes his own view of consciousness and speculates that it must be substrate-independent, similarly to remembering, computing and learning. He finishes his book optimistically, describing the work he does at the Future of Life Institute he has founded. Just like his previous book, "Life 3.0" is a brilliant example of existential hope, something humanity really needs. If you want to read an enthrolling, captivating book on AI, choose this one. Not that it needs any promotion after it was praised by Elon Musk :). Follow it up by Nick Bostrom's voluminous "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies," another great text on the subject.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jin

    So, I‘m new to AI and even though I do know some technical stuff, I‘m no professional. I got this book because I am interested in AI and what possibilities there are for our life. Even though some parts of the book were repetitive, it provided a good summary and outlook about AI and the effect on our life. The book was neatly organized and gave good summaries about each chapter. The author did a good job in guiding the reader through the technological landscape and the images were well embedded So, I‘m new to AI and even though I do know some technical stuff, I‘m no professional. I got this book because I am interested in AI and what possibilities there are for our life. Even though some parts of the book were repetitive, it provided a good summary and outlook about AI and the effect on our life. The book was neatly organized and gave good summaries about each chapter. The author did a good job in guiding the reader through the technological landscape and the images were well embedded into the text. If you are into this theme and always wanted to get a rough overview, I would recommend this book. As it is always the case with non-fiction, I also recommend to read/get perspectives from other AI professionals as well, which I will do as next steps.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Graeme Roberts

    Probably the best book so far on the possibilities and dangers of artificial intelligence. The grown-up boy genius, Max Tegmark, is ebullient, full of energy, and very charming. What might be considered name dropping in another author is readily forgiven, as he pulls us into the excitement of this rapidly developing field, and his cofounding of The Future Life Institute to ensure that safety measures are adopted to stop AI from dispensing with its dumb old human forebears. The prelude contains a Probably the best book so far on the possibilities and dangers of artificial intelligence. The grown-up boy genius, Max Tegmark, is ebullient, full of energy, and very charming. What might be considered name dropping in another author is readily forgiven, as he pulls us into the excitement of this rapidly developing field, and his cofounding of The Future Life Institute to ensure that safety measures are adopted to stop AI from dispensing with its dumb old human forebears. The prelude contains a very plausible but imaginative fictional account of the Omega Team and Prometheus, its powerful AI. Storytelling brings the technology and its human implications vividly to life. Some chapters are intensely exciting, opening new intellectual vistas with the turn of every page. Others, including Our Cosmic Endowment: The Next Billion Years and Beyond and Consciousness are a touch turgid and tedious, but I never found the journey less than worthwhile.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” which I won through Goodreads Giveaways is a fascinating subject that seems like the stuff of a science-fiction novel. It begins with an imaginative “what-if” premise with the tale of the Omega Team who, with a strong commitment to helping humanity secretly build an AI called Prometheus. With security measures in place, this ultra-intelligent machine not only makes millions for its parent organization but transforms the world positive “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” which I won through Goodreads Giveaways is a fascinating subject that seems like the stuff of a science-fiction novel. It begins with an imaginative “what-if” premise with the tale of the Omega Team who, with a strong commitment to helping humanity secretly build an AI called Prometheus. With security measures in place, this ultra-intelligent machine not only makes millions for its parent organization but transforms the world positively and negatively. With the creation of Artificial Intelligence closer than we can imagine, Max Tegman enables a layperson like myself to look its possibility, form (i.e. machine, cyborg), pros and cons, as well as impact on humanity (i.e. jobs, laws, weapons) with a perspective of its future potential. A uniquely interesting topic especially one which would affect mankind on a global scale, he deals with it honestly pointing to the most controversial issues near the end of the book. “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” is a book that I intend to read again as Max Tegman’s discussion of Artificial Intelligence is very pertinent and a loaded topic not only for our generation but as we look ahead to the future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tomq

    Life 3.0 is in turns enlightening and infuriating. It is worth reading for the many enlightening bits. We are likely to invent A.I. soon. (1) What could happen next, and (2) what should happen next? To tackle this subject satisfyingly would require somebody who is an unbiased AI researcher, a psychologist, a neuroscientist, a moral philosopher, a metaphysician, a philosopher of mind, an economist, a political scientist, a poet, and perhaps more. Since that person doesn't exist, we're stuck wi Life 3.0 is in turns enlightening and infuriating. It is worth reading for the many enlightening bits. We are likely to invent A.I. soon. (1) What could happen next, and (2) what should happen next? To tackle this subject satisfyingly would require somebody who is an unbiased AI researcher, a psychologist, a neuroscientist, a moral philosopher, a metaphysician, a philosopher of mind, an economist, a political scientist, a poet, and perhaps more. Since that person doesn't exist, we're stuck with Tegmark, who is none of the above. He is a physicist and a cosmologist. As a result, Tegmark often tries to forcefully shove physics-shaped answers into AI/economics/philosophy/whatever-shaped problems: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. However, Tegmark is smart, curious, and open-minded, and has an impressive talent for networking, helped in part by his credentials as a physicist. He has privileged access to a broad range of top thinkers from various disciplines, including much of the top brass of AI research. In Life 3.0, Tegmark is at his best when he acts as a curator and interpreter, explaining a broad range of ideas in a simple, accessible fashion. There's a lot of exciting things to learn from in this book, on domains as varied as game theory (applied to hierarchical organization), teleological interpretations of physical laws, and the scope of potential futures resulting from the irruption of human-level AI. They're often covered at a rather superficial level, but you've got to start somewhere. So there are a lot of good ideas. But the distribution of ideas that Tegmark is drawing from is heavily skewed towards the "hard sciences". Often the humanities (incl. philosophy, economics...) are not given a say, even when their contribution is not just relevant, but indispensable. For instance, when Tegmark discusses the origin of the values that govern human behavior, he concludes that it does not fit our "genes", but our "feelings"... Bizarrely forgetting about culture! At another point, we spend considerable time discussing how much intelligent life the universe can harbor, with barely a word on why that's a good thing. Yet another omission concerns the medium term consequences of sub-human AI in terms of employment, political manipulation, and so on; these very urgent issues are quickly dismissed in a few superficial pages. Overall, then, Life 3.0 is a good book that suffers from massive blind spots. Think of it as a four or five-stars book from which half the pages have been torn away. PS: in a hilariously groveling sentence, Tegmark describes his benefactor Elon Musk as "tall, handsome, eloquent and incredibly knowledgeable". Much of Tegmark's interesting work is funded, rather generously, by Elon Musk. One wonders how Musks' ongoing "RUD" (rapid unscheduled disassembly) is going to affect the project.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Isil Arican

    This one was the most disappointing book I read this year. I started it with optimism: after all the writer is a very intelligent man, it is a very interesting topic, and a particular area I am interested in. Maybe I had too high expectations, but it was an utter disappointment and a waste of time for me. I should admit, the writer has a clear language, he describes his thoughts well and book is well written. However, my issue is with content more than the style. I wanted to read this book to unde This one was the most disappointing book I read this year. I started it with optimism: after all the writer is a very intelligent man, it is a very interesting topic, and a particular area I am interested in. Maybe I had too high expectations, but it was an utter disappointment and a waste of time for me. I should admit, the writer has a clear language, he describes his thoughts well and book is well written. However, my issue is with content more than the style. I wanted to read this book to understand the legitimate issues and ethical concerns with AI, and how, we, as an advancing technological civilization can take appropriate precautions to ensure it happens the right way. Based on the credentials of the writer, I was anticipating a balanced, clear and thoughtful approach, sound pros and cons arguments and some realistic suggestions. Instead, I ended up reading a book that is shallow and filled with incredulous speculations. The writer took the easy way. Instead of diving deep into ethical issues and valid concerns around AI he speculates on different scenarios in great details. So much that I thought it would be more fun and more realistic to read a science fiction novel, because it would be more plausible in many ways, and fun too. He goes into endless speculations of how AI might go wrong in multiple ways and takes an obvious joy of making those as detailed and long ( gosh, they are long) as they can be. Then instead of going into details of some precautions of his disaster scenario, he goes onto another alternative doomsday scenario. He jumps from one extreme possibility to other, humans being a slave to AI to a total annihilation of the human race. As he entertains himself with various far-fetched AI scenarios, he conveniently avoids the harder to discuss subjects, like ethics and social dilemmas around AIs. To give an example of how preposterous his scenarios are: He claims the advanced AI will need lot of energy that would be hard to fulfill. But he also claims once we are able to build mega architectural structures that can tap into the energy of a black hole, we won't have that problem anymore. (Yes, you read it correctly.) After reading a couple of these far-fetched ideas with no real current concerns, I lost all my interest in this book and read it just to finish it. The rest did not change my mind either. Shallow arguments continued as the writer's rich imagination soared. This is the AI version of Hariri's books. Lots of speculation, false analogies, and it appeals to those who claim they are smarter than the average folk. While feeding the subtle conspiracy theory mindset to those who like to call themselves intellectuals, it makes them feel better and feel up to date. After all, they already figured out everything on sociopolitical sciences with Hariri, and now they can claim expertise in computer sciences and artificial intelligence as well. Now I need to read an actual and a good science fiction book to clear my brain cells and readjust them to the boundary between reality and fiction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anne ✨

    An excellent look at how AI is shaping our world, illuminating both the infinite potential AND inherent risks of AI systems building smarter versions of themselves until their intelligence surpasses humans. You can feel the author's passion and desire to bring awareness to the philosophical discussion surrounding AI's. I appreciated how he avoided making judgments on what humanity should/shouldn't do, but instead presented an array of fascinating possible futures, and asks the reader to think ab An excellent look at how AI is shaping our world, illuminating both the infinite potential AND inherent risks of AI systems building smarter versions of themselves until their intelligence surpasses humans. You can feel the author's passion and desire to bring awareness to the philosophical discussion surrounding AI's. I appreciated how he avoided making judgments on what humanity should/shouldn't do, but instead presented an array of fascinating possible futures, and asks the reader to think about what future they would want. There's a lot of high level thinking here, but the author did a great job presenting this with the average reader in mind, so that I could grasp (most of) the concepts. One of my favorite parts of this book the prologue! It's the author's fictional tale about a team that developed an AI and used it in a myriad of ways, and you see all the impacts rippling out throughout the world. It was crazy to even imagine it happening that way and yet sounded totally plausible at the same time! It's a great illustration of just how terrifying and exciting the whole idea of AI is. If you want to check out this tale, you can actually read it online here: http://nautil.us/issue/53/monsters/th...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Niklas Laninge

    By far the best book i have read on the topic. To approach life and AI from a physicists perspective really sets this book apart from say Superintelligence, 2nd Machineage and Humans need not apply. Also, the fictional aspects really makes this book a bit of a page-turner.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    An important quote to remember when approaching the subject of AI (from one of my favourite writers Yuval Noah Harari) is: ”If you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably wrong; but if you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it does not sound like science fiction, it is certainly wrong.” I decided to pick up a copy of this after reading Harari’s “21 Lessons For The 21st Century” earlier this year. Life 3.0 is an engaging read, written fo An important quote to remember when approaching the subject of AI (from one of my favourite writers Yuval Noah Harari) is: ”If you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably wrong; but if you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it does not sound like science fiction, it is certainly wrong.” I decided to pick up a copy of this after reading Harari’s “21 Lessons For The 21st Century” earlier this year. Life 3.0 is an engaging read, written for a general audience (so people new to the subject can pick it up) covering the many different scenarios we could face in the future as AI technology advances. A certain few chapters cover the basics, with Tegmark encouraging those familiar with the topic to skip these, but I decided to read the entire book despite my familiarity with (and quite the avid interest in) the subject. Even though it is intended for a general audience; I’d say a decent knowledge of computers/tech and physics is needed to be able to follow it properly, otherwise some parts may seem quite convoluted and confusing. Quite a lot of equations and scientific diagrams are used. The prologue is a hypothetical “Prometheus” project by a team called the Omegas. It outlines the ways a superhuman AI could impact our world and gives us a best case scenario. I feel as though it isn’t quite what would happen in reality, but it is an intriguing concept all the same and (of course) hard to predict. This is referred back to in later chapters, as it is explored and analysed in greater detail. A scenario given here, about one of the Prometheus’ team’s deceased wife being seemingly “brought back from the dead” as an AI generated computer simulation, feels like something straight out of the television show “Black Mirror”. (I personally do not like too many references to “Black Mirror” when talking about the future, as it seems overused and lazy now BUT it is a comparison most people will “get”). Tegmark states that life is divided into three stages which are as follows: - Life 1.0 (biological stage): evolves its hardware and software - Life 2.0 (cultural stage): evolves its hardware, designs much of its software - Life 3.0 (technological stage): designs its hardware and software Throughout the book, Tegmark makes his feelings known that it is only a matter of time before we invent truly intelligent machines, but doesn’t really say exactly when this might happen. All we really know is that technology has been advancing so rapidly within these past few decades that it is truly fascinating to ruminate over what could be next, perhaps sooner than we think. One slight critique I have of it is the overuse of quite lengthy foot-noting every few pages. I do feel as though most of the information given here, I have read or head about about before in some other form; in other books, countless articles and videos. So for that reason it’s a 3.5 stars overall from me, rounded up to a 4 mostly for the way it was written. I liked the way Tegmark explained everything and his input on the AI topic as a whole, as he appears to be very passionate about it. I am in need of reading Nick Bostrom’s “Superintelligence” in the very near future.

  16. 5 out of 5

    CaptainWolfsborg

    Artificial Intelligence (AI), in many different forms, has been around for a while now. Most of us, surely, have noticed that this buzzword now frequents many fields of modern human (still) activity. From small things, like my friend recently letting AI to clip and edit his GoPro movie to IBM Watson with deep thinking capabilities, AI is here to permanently alter our lives. According to Marshall Brain, humans will become as irrelevant as cockroaches. Indeed, if humans create something more intell Artificial Intelligence (AI), in many different forms, has been around for a while now. Most of us, surely, have noticed that this buzzword now frequents many fields of modern human (still) activity. From small things, like my friend recently letting AI to clip and edit his GoPro movie to IBM Watson with deep thinking capabilities, AI is here to permanently alter our lives. According to Marshall Brain, humans will become as irrelevant as cockroaches. Indeed, if humans create something more intelligent than themselves to improve their lives, why this intelligence should care about us in the end. There is an excellent analogy in the book illustrating this point: a colony of ants creating a human to improve the life of the ant colony. How long this human would be interested to take care of those ants? Wouldn’t there be some more inspiring endeavors to undertake by having this huge advantage of intelligence? This is one of the many thought provoking goodies the reader can find in Max Tegmark’s book. At this stage, AI has so many unproved areas, unanswered questions, contradicting views on dangers and opportunities. The author tries to address a very broad spectrum of those issues. There are many speculative thesis in the book, as it should be in the field with so many ground-breaking activities. The focus of the book is rather fundamental and philosophical, as opposed to more practical and technological showing tangible applications of AI. Max Tegmark analyses essential concepts for AI to appear and evolve. These include goals, consciousness, learning, memory, computation, etc. Those fundamental concepts are backed up with physics, philosophy, and social aspects of artificial intelligence. The author provides a very broad spectrum of possible scenarios of the AI future. The book is interesting and important. Besides many theoretical aspects of AI, it analyses very central questions like ethics and safety of humanity in the light of advancing AI. It is hard to disagree with Max Tegmark that this topics should be one of the most important conversations of our times.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David

    Tegmark is an exuberant AI cheerleader awash in the unbridled nerdy enthusiasm of an inevitable post-human future. To his credit the book, a reflection of the work he's doing out in the world, attempts to broaden the discussion around AI to something more than wondering if sentient robots will kill us all. His prelude on a plausible AI trajectory is compelling and thoughtful stuff and I loved how it expanded the way I think of AI's progress. The exploration into considering whether super intelli Tegmark is an exuberant AI cheerleader awash in the unbridled nerdy enthusiasm of an inevitable post-human future. To his credit the book, a reflection of the work he's doing out in the world, attempts to broaden the discussion around AI to something more than wondering if sentient robots will kill us all. His prelude on a plausible AI trajectory is compelling and thoughtful stuff and I loved how it expanded the way I think of AI's progress. The exploration into considering whether super intelligent AI become zookeepers or benevolent dictators or enslaved gods is great too. But thinking about the philosophical considerations of consciousness, intelligence and evolution left me cold and the name dropping, back slapping historical narrative added yet another element to this unbalanced read. In here is a fascinating exploration of what AI could mean for the world, it's just buried under a lot of wonky, wordy stuff that obscured the picture I was trying to form. Maybe I've been spoiled by more narrative, bite-sized, non-fiction - I want the abridged version of this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Radiantflux

    68th book for 2017. This book is somewhere between a 2-and-3 stars for me. The book focuses on the long-term dangers of General Artificial Intelligence. The sort of problems that might occur with the great-grandson of HAL3000 in the distant future. There is no discussion of short-to-medium-term dangers from AI destroying millions of jobs. This book is firmly focussed on the danger of the coming age of superminds. One of the perceived dangers mentioned multiple times is of the form "how do I keep o 68th book for 2017. This book is somewhere between a 2-and-3 stars for me. The book focuses on the long-term dangers of General Artificial Intelligence. The sort of problems that might occur with the great-grandson of HAL3000 in the distant future. There is no discussion of short-to-medium-term dangers from AI destroying millions of jobs. This book is firmly focussed on the danger of the coming age of superminds. One of the perceived dangers mentioned multiple times is of the form "how do I keep on living when I am no longer the smartest person in room?" the sort of issue I guess most non-tenured MIT professors don't worry about. The constant name dropping/adulation of various researchers was irritating/distracting (e.g., my wife and I had a delightful dinner with Elon Musk where we discussed etc etc). His description of Tononi in the consciousness chapter was so over the top it had me spitting out my coffee in laughter. I wouldn't have minded the deep future speculation if it just felt richer. There are no intellectual fireworks here. This is a pretty pedestrian plod through territory that has been better covered in many scifi works. The topic I know best, consciousness, was covered in a superficial and quite biased fashion, which makes me worry that areas I don't know so well were similarly short-changed. I suspect Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom would offer a far better read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tashfin Awal

    I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways and have chosen to give my honest opinion about it. This book was a phenomenal read! It opened my mind up to so many new things, it was truly very insightful! The arguments and ideas presented in this book develop some current well-known facts as well as some new theories, all of which are incredibly interesting! The lengths to which arguments are presented and the details greatly help develop the book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rob Adey

    I was wary of this book when I saw an Elon Musk blurb on the cover. But I enjoyed Tegmark's last book so I gave it a go and... I'm sorry to say he's having dinner with Elon Musk in the first chapter, and if you have dinner with Elon Musk and don't mention some pretty straightforward and low-tech ways he might actually help humanity, and instead indulge him in some hackneyed sci-fi wank fantasies about corporations creating AI and secretly taking over the world, then, well, you're just enabling a I was wary of this book when I saw an Elon Musk blurb on the cover. But I enjoyed Tegmark's last book so I gave it a go and... I'm sorry to say he's having dinner with Elon Musk in the first chapter, and if you have dinner with Elon Musk and don't mention some pretty straightforward and low-tech ways he might actually help humanity, and instead indulge him in some hackneyed sci-fi wank fantasies about corporations creating AI and secretly taking over the world, then, well, you're just enabling a leech. I tried to put that aside, I carried on, but it shows that Tegmark's primarily a cosmologist. The book is basically a bunch of magazine-depth summaries of various aspects of AI; most of it I've seen done better in various other books (books not chiefly about AI, in the main). And to top it all there's some terrible graphics, e.g. a greyscale pie chart with about 60 roughly equally sized segments. Minimum Tegmarks.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ross

    I got this book based on a review that stated the book was about artificial intelligence (AI) and was extremely disappointed to find there was almost zero technical coverage of AI. The author mentions several of the well known AI applications such as games, language, etc., but nothing about how these apps are built. The book is about the future of life with AI becoming the life of the future as super intelligent computers. It is based on the saying "it will be a long time before machines are more I got this book based on a review that stated the book was about artificial intelligence (AI) and was extremely disappointed to find there was almost zero technical coverage of AI. The author mentions several of the well known AI applications such as games, language, etc., but nothing about how these apps are built. The book is about the future of life with AI becoming the life of the future as super intelligent computers. It is based on the saying "it will be a long time before machines are more intelligent than humans, it may take a hundred years." He discusses who believes this, but no discussion of the technical aspects that could lead to this result. He spends a lot of time talking about millions of years in the future and nonsense like computers as large as a galaxy. The author thinks Earth is the only life in the universe which is also nonsense. I skimmed most of the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bouke

    A very thorough book about the last invention humanity will make: human-level artificial intelligence. AI has enormous potential ramifications and this book very clearly goes through all of them, this book explains what AI is and how it will be built, and what the benefits to risks are to humanity. It ends with a solid philosophical exploration of what intelligence and consciousness are.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Ask people to describe what they imagine artificial intelligence and a number of their reference points would no doubt be rooted in film and literature. There is the brutal robot from the Terminator films, the benign but deadly HAL9000 from 2001 A Space Odyssey, and the contemplative Deep Thought that Douglas Adams gave us. AI has a long way to go, but it is becoming something that people are beginning to use on a daily basis when they talk to Siri or Alexa. The potential benefits of AI for huma Ask people to describe what they imagine artificial intelligence and a number of their reference points would no doubt be rooted in film and literature. There is the brutal robot from the Terminator films, the benign but deadly HAL9000 from 2001 A Space Odyssey, and the contemplative Deep Thought that Douglas Adams gave us. AI has a long way to go, but it is becoming something that people are beginning to use on a daily basis when they talk to Siri or Alexa. The potential benefits of AI for humanity could be enormous, it could be used to run all sorts of systems, search for crimes and maybe be part of the justice process, monitor our health, assist with our jobs, and have the potential to actually do some of the most menial. People are considering using them for warfare too, one step on from what the drone does under human control at the moment. Whilst AI excites some people who can only see the positives, after all the potential of it is huge; there are others who are very concerned that about the downsides so much so that there are AI systems that are not connected to the world wide web. Using AI for war could backfire spectacularly, bye bye human race; and what happens if the AI managing your house is hacked? Or the one in your car fails at speed. Images of those pods in the matrix come to mind… The subjects Tegmark covers In Life 3.0 goes some way to addressing these and a lot more issues that are concerning people about the implications of AI. Some of the subjects he writes about were what you'd expect in a book like this, consciousness, intelligence, life and the implications of an AI totalitarian state, would it be a utopia or worse. There were some chapters that I didn't think were totally relevant to the subject; for example, he wanders off into the realms of space-time and goals. Was a little disappointing overall as this is a subject that needs urgent discussion right now.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tobias Leenaert

    a fascinating, lucid and well written exploration of AI and the possible futures for humanity, and a plea for how we all have to get involved into this converstation. This book contains really big ideas, yet it is rarely too heavy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Azita Rassi

    I listened to the audiobook, which was very good, but I need to read it as well and pause at its more difficult parts. Anyhow, this is a profound book and very much worth everyone’s time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Menglong Youk

    If you are confused by the title of the book, let me have a moment to explain. The author divides stages of life into three: 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. Life 1.0, or biological revolution, consists of bacteria and single-celled organisms. Both hardware, the body, and software, the algorithms used to process our thoughts and emotions, are evolved; the hardware and software can be changed, but the process cannot happen in a single organism's lifetime—it has to gradually evolve over many generations. Life 2. If you are confused by the title of the book, let me have a moment to explain. The author divides stages of life into three: 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. Life 1.0, or biological revolution, consists of bacteria and single-celled organisms. Both hardware, the body, and software, the algorithms used to process our thoughts and emotions, are evolved; the hardware and software can be changed, but the process cannot happen in a single organism's lifetime—it has to gradually evolve over many generations. Life 2.0, cultural revolution, is human whose hardware is evolved, but the software is designed, in this case by studying, in a single person's lifetime like reading, thinking, writing, joking, or inventing new technologies. Life 3.0, the technological revolution, is Artificial Intelligence whose hardware and software can be designed: it can replicate itself from scratch and build new bodies relatively quickly from raw materials, plus, it can also learn about the surroundings, gather the information, and avoid mistakes, enabling it to advance enormously. For a mouse, it's between 1.0 and 2.0. We may think that its software is also designed. Although it can learn some tricks or be able to learn something, it couldn't develop a proper language to communicate or other methods that can efficiently help them transfer the knowledge they gather to the next generations. So when their newborn starts his life, he has to learn from scratch by watching the elders. For human in the 21st century, it's between 2.0 and 3.0. We can re-attach new hip joints, amend bones, make ourselves stronger than usual by medications, and cure many diseases, but we cannot design our body to be immensely different like having two brains, being 5 meters tall or run 100 meters per second. About the book, Max Tegmark starts with a fictional, but possible, scénario that a team of scientists and engineers called Omega secretly build an AI machine called Prometheus. The AI not only makes billions of dollars for its creators, but also transforms our world both positively and negatively. As the book progresses, the author occasionally includes fictional scenarios that fit the description he has presented. These may discredit or downgrade the seriousness of his ideas, but to me, they illustrate the situations more vividly, enabling me to grasp the views better. For the rise of Artificial Intelligence, it is not a matter of if, but when and how. When the technology of a more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence arrives, what will be our future be like? Will we need to work anymore? Will we totally rely on the AI to do our daily job? Will human being with flesh and bone be needed anymore if we can transform our consciousness into computers? What about the future of our space exploration? The author carefully answers these questions by using the information he has learnt from many scientists and engineers who are in the frontier of this technology. AI is still controversial because people are afraid that it will outsmart us all and exterminate our species once it finds us unnecessary. Hollywood movies usually give AI a disastrous reputation as being cruel and dangerous, but we have to equally consider its usefulness for our civilization. We have to be optimistic about the future along with tentative steps by considering the consequences, and this is why AI safety research are needed because rather than worrying, we should be working to find a plan to prevent the unforseen tragedy. With today's limited technology, humans have been killed by robots in factories because of the mistakes or carelessness made by the humans, resulting in their being crushed by the robots since they are unaware that humans are in harm ways. If we design a robot that is smarter and able to recognize humans when they are in danger, we will be able to save human lives because the robot will stop what it is doing since their movement is about to harm a human. Recently, the president of Russia Vladimir Putin said, as I paraphrased here, any country controls AI controls the world. This view resonates with many scientists and engineers, which is why we repeatedly demand the world to discuss this issue more widely and intellectually as we all will be responsible for the future of the next generation. "Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence" teaches me more than I wanted to know, and this is marvelous because one needs sufficient knowledge on this issue in order to have a proper conversation as totally positive or negative views alone would not give justice to the topic. This book will comfortably be in top three I've read this year. More book reviews at https://menglongstarstuff.wordpress.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    Xander

    Kind of a disappointing book. Physicist Max Tegmark tries to explain the current status of artificial intelligence research to a broad public in order to invite all of us to start sharing our ideas and wishes for the future. Both goals are commendable - one wishes more scientists would adopt this approach - and I am fully convinced of the need for this public debate. But Tegmark waters down all the technicalities to explain the main concepts and (his) definitions of life, intelligence, consciousn Kind of a disappointing book. Physicist Max Tegmark tries to explain the current status of artificial intelligence research to a broad public in order to invite all of us to start sharing our ideas and wishes for the future. Both goals are commendable - one wishes more scientists would adopt this approach - and I am fully convinced of the need for this public debate. But Tegmark waters down all the technicalities to explain the main concepts and (his) definitions of life, intelligence, consciousness, etc. in a mere two chapters. The rest of the book consists of future scenario's and speculations about dangers, costs and benefits. Intelligence consists of remembering, calculating and learning; all three components are substrate independent, meaning they can use whatever matter is available to operate; which means that artificial intelligence is only limited by natural laws of physics, not human ingenuity. Currently, scientists are trying to build a human-level artificial general intelligence, and the question is whether the most effective and efficient means is to model this to human brain processes or to adopt a non-human approach. In short, artificial intelligence, due to its substrate independence, is not tied to biological limits like us - it can develop both its hardware and its software. Hardware restraints are economic profitability (i.e. compared to human labour) and material availiability (i.e. the current technological status). Software is, at least theoreticially, unlimited, and proceeds in an exponential fashion. This last point is the most important lesson I take from Life 3.0. AI has recursive function, meaning its algorithms loop back onto itself, in effect improving its own thought processes. This means that AI can develop itself into ever more effective intelligence, possibly far surpassing human intelligence in the near future. The debate is out whether such a superintelligence is possible and if so, how close we are. Again, there is absolutely no consensus among experts on this question. AI can be applied to almost all fields of human societies: transport, communications, health care, law, warfare, economics, jobs, etc. As a matter of fact, we already are witnessing the transformation of society, and things will only change faster in the near future. Tegmark distinguishes between the near future and the far future. In the near future, we have to deal with an ever-chaning world and we can use these changes for better or for worse. The near-future is mostly unpredictable and heavily ethical - moral choices dictate the way AI will shape our world. This requires the public to get engaged - and quickly - with these subjects The more far off future is, paradoxically, much more predictable. Laws of physics dictate that AI can develop to heights which surpass human imagination, making human-AI-integration, an AI-explosion throughout space, etc. possible scenario's. The only limits here are, again, human choices. What role do we choose for AI: a superintelligence? A human-level intelligence? No AI? And should this intelligence have its own goal-setting opportunities? These and a myriad other choices require the engagement of the public, Tegmark convinces us - and I think he is right. The book itself is a heroic attempt to inform the public. The only downside is the superficiality when it comes to technicalities (understandable), turning the book into a speculative essay - Tegmark tries to inform us about all the possible scenario's and developments, but is not able to point us to the likely ones. I think the book should be seen as a discussion starter: Tegmark throws up the ball, it is up to us to catch it and run with it. In this, the book succeeds - it's just I had rather seen some more technical information.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nilesh

    A balanced book on an important subject with a plethora of good information, innovative categorisations to explain the issues at hand and many rational discussions even if without strong conclusions. Certainly, a must-read for anyone thinking about what potentially lies ahead. The author experiments boldly, particularly with the fictitious scenario of an all-dominating AI, to describe the issues at hand. The explanation helps set up the rest of the discussion, unlike in many other books, where AI A balanced book on an important subject with a plethora of good information, innovative categorisations to explain the issues at hand and many rational discussions even if without strong conclusions. Certainly, a must-read for anyone thinking about what potentially lies ahead. The author experiments boldly, particularly with the fictitious scenario of an all-dominating AI, to describe the issues at hand. The explanation helps set up the rest of the discussion, unlike in many other books, where AI scare-mongering is often without sufficient context. With the help of the main examples, the author is able to discuss the nuances of possible future courses in detail and without burdening the reader with technical jargons. Just like the AI example, the Life 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 categorisation appears tacky at the start. Yet, once again, the concoction helps in shaping some excellent discussions on various evolutions and what the arrow of life is possibly pointing to now with the AI. These sections are dotted with amazing facts (for example, our DNA stores 1.6GB worth of data roughly while the brain capacity is around 100TB - to highlight the difference between life 1.0 and life 2.0 or the biomass of bacteria is about 400bn tonnes, same as plants with humans at 0.4bn while the material rearrangement by humans is approaching the same scale as planetary biomass) and concepts (e.g. substrate independence or efficiency gains possible in energy, memory or processing with AI compared to the tiny point at which we are currently). The book is one of the rare balanced ones on the topic, which will also prove useful to most who want to understand all sides. The author is not only honest in his admission about why so much is unknowable but thorough in explaining different sides, their main points, inherent assumptions, where they could be right/wrong and contrasting against others. The equivocation in conclusions is rather refreshing as a result. The end sections on his own research foundation and some of its high profile sponsors are certainly jarring. However, it should not take away much from the excellent discussion that is almost whole of the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kair Käsper

    Unless God is finally bothered enough to take the elevator down to earth and ban all further technological research, we will eventually give birth to AI. That AI will then be capable of developing a far better AI than the one we, smartish ape cousins, mashed together. This book does a wonderful job of laying out the context and some possible scenarios of what will happen next. Unfortunately it also excels at describing the microscopic chance we have of getting it right. It is like building the n Unless God is finally bothered enough to take the elevator down to earth and ban all further technological research, we will eventually give birth to AI. That AI will then be capable of developing a far better AI than the one we, smartish ape cousins, mashed together. This book does a wonderful job of laying out the context and some possible scenarios of what will happen next. Unfortunately it also excels at describing the microscopic chance we have of getting it right. It is like building the next version of Microsoft Windows with the slight difference that even the smallest bug or error will wipe humans out of existence. I have to give credit to the author who keeps a positive attitude (much like Stephen Hawking) while staring deep into the abyss. Thinking back on Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, it will indeed require hope, unprecedented leadership and some dumb luck to pull it all off. The rewards and the risk have never been greater. And will likely never be greater. If you’re an analytical realist, chances are you’ll live longer if you don’t read this book. On the flip side, if enough people read this book, maybe the human race will live longer.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steven Peck

    Don't let this 3 star review keep you from reading this book. It is well worth engaging with. Tegmark has done a great service in getting people thinking about these issues. It's just his view is too seeped in our current situations and imagines future AI as being rather mundane extensions our current concerns. Much of this is long expositions of trivialities of imagined futures. I think Tegmark needs to read more science fiction to get a better sense of the breadth of possible futures. Still, a Don't let this 3 star review keep you from reading this book. It is well worth engaging with. Tegmark has done a great service in getting people thinking about these issues. It's just his view is too seeped in our current situations and imagines future AI as being rather mundane extensions our current concerns. Much of this is long expositions of trivialities of imagined futures. I think Tegmark needs to read more science fiction to get a better sense of the breadth of possible futures. Still, a nice starting place to get conversation rolling.

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