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5 Essential Books About AI

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The books on this list offer perspective from some of the industry’s most prominent leaders and thinkers, illuminating the history of AI, the current landscape and the exciting advances on the horizon. [Creatives On Call]

These page-turners shine a light on some of the most pressing issues facing artificial intelligence today.

In a world where advances in artificial intelligence (AI) happen seemingly on a daily basis, you might wonder whether books about AI are rendered obsolete before they can even reach bookshelves. While there’s no slowing down the pace of innovation, slowing down to read a book can be the best way to gain a deeper understanding of complex ideas. The books on this list offer perspective from some of the industry’s most prominent leaders and thinkers, illuminating the history of AI, the current landscape and the exciting advances on the horizon.

AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future 

By Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan (March 2024)

Author highlights: Kai-Fu Lee is a venture capitalist, former president of Google China and a prominent voice in China’s AI industry. Chen Qiufan is an award-winning science fiction writer also known as Stanley Chan.

What makes this book stand out: AI 2041 is a collection of ten science-fiction short stories written by Qiufan, paired with technical predictions from Lee. The stories, backed by technical expertise, speculate about what everyday life with AI will be like in the year 2041 in a refreshingly relatable way that blends fiction and nonfiction. Each story looks at a range of AI advancements — everything from artificial general intelligence to autonomous weapons — envisioning a future of coexistence with AI.

The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI 

By Fei-Fei Li (November 2023)

Author highlights: Fei-Fei Li is an academic, researcher, and AI pioneer. She is a computer science professor at Stanford, co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute, and co-founder and chairperson of AI4ALL, an organization dedicated to fostering inclusion and diversity in AI education. She has also worked with policymakers in California and nationally on the responsible use of technology. 

What makes this book stand out: As a renowned scientist at the forefront of AI, Li articulates a clear vision of what artificial intelligence is and the forces that shaped it. But the book also weaves a vivid immigrant story, chronicling Li’s journey coming to the U.S. from China with the odds stacked against her. Emerging as a major player in one of the biggest technological movements in human history, Li’s story offers equal parts inspiration and technical understanding.

The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-First Century’s Greatest Dilemma 

By Michael Bhaskar and Mustafa Suleyman (September 2023) 

Author highlights: Mustafa Suleyman is the cofounder of DeepMind (acquired by Google) and current CEO of Microsoft AI. Michael Bhaskar is a writer and researcher whose work examines the intersection of technology and publishing. 

What makes this book stand out: In The Coming Wave, Bhaskar and Suleyman sound a warning bell on “the containment problem” – the challenge of maintaining control of a technology that’s rapidly growing more powerful.  The book is both a celebration of scientific advancement and a dire warning  of the perils we might face should we fail to strike the right balance between AI innovation and AI safety.

Impromptu: Amplifying Our Humanity Through AI 

By Reid Hoffman (March 2023)

Author highlights: Cofounder of LinkedIn and Inflection AI, Hoffman is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and board member for the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI. At Greylock Partners, he was a founding investor in OpenAI. 

What makes this book stand out: After famously sitting for an interview with an AI deepfake of himself, it’s no surprise that Hoffman wrote this book with the help of GPT-4. Impromptu delves into questions of how humanity can use AI to give more meaning to life and explores the impact of generative models on everything from education to business. 

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

By Max Tegmark (August 2017)

Author highlights: Professor of physics at MIT and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute, Tegmark is a machine learning researcher exploring how the world might evolve as AI improves and grows.
What makes this book stand out: Despite its 2017 publication date, Tegmark’s book is as timely as ever, asking  important questions around the impact of AI on everyday life and society at large. Will we eventually be outsmarted by the machines we’ve created? As a trained physicist, Tegmark explores this question and others with a balanced approach that emphasizes facts and analysis over opinion.

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