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Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control
A leading artificial intelligence researcher lays out a new approach to AI that will enable us to coexist successfully with increasingly intelligent machinesIn the popular imagination, superhuman artificial intelligence is an approaching tidal wave that threatens not just jobs and human relationships, but civilization itself. Conflict between humans and machines is seen as inevitable and its outcome all too predictable.In this groundbreaking book, distinguished AI researcher Stuart Russell argues that this scenario can be avoided, but only if we rethink AI from the ground up. Russell begins by exploring the idea of intelligence in humans and in machines. He describes the near-term benefits we can expect, from intelligent personal assistants to vastly accelerated scientific research, and outlines the AI breakthroughs that still have to happen before we reach superhuman AI. He also spells out the ways humans are already finding to misuse AI, from lethal autonomous weapons to viral sabotage.If the predicted breakthroughs occur and superhuman AI emerges, we will have created entities far more powerful than ourselves. How can we ensure they never, ever, have power over us? Russell suggests that we can rebuild AI on a new foundation, according to which machines are designed to be inherently uncertain about the human preferences they are required to satisfy. Such machines would be humble, altruistic, and committed to pursue our objectives, not theirs. This new foundation would allow us to create machines that are provably deferential and provably beneficial.
Superpower: One Man's Quest to Transform American Energy
In the ever more urgent quest for sources of renewable energy, meet the man boldly harnessing the natural forces that could power America’s future.The United States is in the midst of an energy transition. We want to embrace renewable energy sources like wind and solar, and rely less on dirty fossil fuels. We don’t want to keep pumping so many heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. Any transition from a North American power grid that uses mostly fossil fuels to one that is predominantly clean requires a massive building spree - billions of dollars’ worth.Enter Michael Skelly, an infrastructure builder who began working on wind energy in 2000, when many considered the industry a joke. Eight years later, Skelly helped create the second largest wind power company in the United States—which was sold for $2 billion. Wind energy was no longer funny; it was well on its way to generating a substantial percentage of the electricity in the United States.Acclaimed journalist and author of The Boom, “the best all-around book yet on fracking” (San Francisco Chronicle), Russell Gold tells the story of this pioneer whose innovations, struggles, and persistence represent the groundbreaking changes underway in American energy. InSuperpower, we meet Skelly’s financial backers, a family that pivoted from oil exploration to renewable energy; the farmers ready to embrace the new “cash crop”; the landowners prepared to go to court to avoid looking at overhead wires; and utility executives who concoct fiendish ways to block renewable energy. Gold also shows how Skelly’s innovative company, Clean Line Energy, conceived the idea for a new power grid that would allow sunlight where abundant to light up homes thousands of miles away in cloudy states, and take wind from the Great Plains to keep air conditioners running in Atlanta. Thrilling, provocative, and important, Superpower is a fascinating look at America’s future.
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