Recently there have been plenty of books published about the role that artificial intelligence(AI) is likely to play in the future of the human race. Unfortunately, many of those books lack the scientific and even literally rigor to be considered seriously. Its really easy to write a book speculating about terminator-like versions of AI but its really hard to provide the right scientific backing to arguments about a human-machine symbiotic future. Late last year, I read Max Tegmark’s Life 3.0 and was very impressed by the detailed research and original thinking presented in this book.
Life 3.0 explores some the fundamental questions that we should face as AI becomes an intrinsic part of our future. Is life as we know it changing? What does it mean to be human in the age of AI? The arguments presented in the book are deeply philosophical but Tegmark does a solid job backing them with pragmatic ideas from some of the top AI thought leaders.
Tegmark biggest accomplishment might be to have written an AI book full of original ideas expressed in very accessible terms for the mainstream reader. Instead of making predictions about an AI apocalypse, Life 3.0 explores a variety of scenarios that discuss the impact of AI across diverse areas such as the job market, warfare and our political systems and democracies.
Mac Tegmark is uniquely positioned to present the ideas covered in Life 3.0. A cosmologist at MIT, Tegmark has been deeply involved in the AI community exploring some of the most important challenges that the human race will face in the age of AI. Life 3.0 conveys many of Tegmark’s ideas in a fun and easy to read way that should help educate the public about the myths and realities facing the evolution of AI.