Learn How to Use AI For Your Benefit With These 4 Books

Recommended reads to make technology work in your favor.

Learn How to Use AI For Your Benefit With These 4 Books
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

The buzzword that took the internet by storm over the past few years is AI.

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, whether you like it or not. AI systems have already changed the way we work, read, and consume content. 

But the biggest changes are yet to come.

The world’s top entrepreneurs are heavily invested in AI, and in the coming years, it will shape how we go about our daily lives, right from what we eat to how we go about our day.

The world’s at the verge of a brand new era, and the ones who know how to leverage AI to their benefit are the ones who’ll control the flow of money. If you’re yet unaware of what exactly AI is and how to best leverage it, then this is the right time to educate yourself.

I’ve spent the past few months extensively educating myself on how to use AI for my benefit. This doesn’t include learning a few ChatGPT prompts, but understanding the basics and the future of this new tech that’s reshaping the world.

In this article, I’ve listed four books that taught me all I need to know. These books will give you a refresher course on everything related to artificial intelligence.

1. Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark

Image: Goodreads

What if machines take up all jobs for humans and replace them? 

What career should kids choose when AI is on the boom? 

How can automation change the world? 

Will AI become more powerful than we can handle? 

Life 3.0 lights up the conversation on such topics and gives you a fresh perspective of the future in AI.

The book starts by defining the three stages of life in reference to technology. Life 1.0 is a biological stage in which evolution takes place in hardware(bodies) and software(brains). Life 2.0 is a cultural stage in which evolution shapes the hardware, but humans can design much of their software through learning and culture. Life 3.0 is a technological state in which both hardware and software can be designed and modified, leading to potentially transformative changes.

The author touches on important points like who controls AI and what should be the ultimate goal of AI. Life 3.0 helped me understand complex concepts like the nature of intelligence and the implications of machines achieving general intelligence. 

This book helps you visualize the immediate future of AI and also concerns like job displacement, AI in warfare, and others. It explains the dual nature of AI technology, which can be a boon or bane.

The thrilling concept of Intelligence Explosion made me think of thousands of possibilities in my head. It means when AI self-improves rapidly, either it can coexist with humans or eradicate humanity. We also get a broader view of the possibilities to expand beyond the earth realms using AI. 

I loved the debate about the possibilities of consciousness on machines. Just imagining this gives me goosebumps. The book has also discussed the strategies for a positive AI future. The AI industry should focus on safety measures, research, and work globally for the ethical development of AI. 

If you want to have an overview of AI, its implications, achievements, and future possibilities, Life 3.0 should be on your reading list.

My favorite quotes from Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark

“Computer scientists call validation: whereas verification asks “Did I build the system right?,” validation asks “Did I build the right system?”
“If we don’t know what we want we’re less likely to get it.”
“We invented fire, repeatedly messed up, and then invented the fire extinguisher, fire exit, fire alarm, and fire department.”

2. Atlas of AI by Kate Crawford

Image: Goodreads

While AI is blooming and every organization wants to include AI in their workforce, we should understand what can go wrong if we can’t handle AI properly. It can become a nightmare for humanity. I wanted to get a critical examination of the AI industry from an expert. This thought-provoking book, Atlas of AI uncovers the social, economic, environmental, and political implications of AI which are often overlooked.

This book makes you observe AI as not only a technical advancement but as a social construct also. You get to see the broader consequences of AI systems apart from their technology.

Atlas of AI starts with discussing the impact of AI on the earth and labor. It’s visible that advancements in AI hardware and machines have led to environmental degradation and human exploitation. It causes high energy consumption and often invisible human labor behind AI technology. It challenges the basic narrative of AI which is purely automation.

We don’t even realize how much of our personal data is collected, often without consent. I wonder what if our personal data is weaponized to control and predict our behavior. The book also examines the emotional and psychological aspects of AI about affective computing and emotion recognition techniques. AI can potentially manipulate and exploit emotional responses from users.

Atlas of AI highlights the concerns about the role of AI in national security and warfare. Governments use AI for surveillance, policing, and controlling the masses. As we can see, the global race for AI domination has already started. This book takes into account how the emergence of AI can lead to global inequality and power dynamics. A must-read for people in the AI industry.

My favorite quotes from Atlas of AI by Kate Crawford

“In one case, Amazon negotiated a memorandum of understanding with a police department in Florida, discovered through a public records request filed by journalist Caroline Haskins, which showed that police were incentivized to promote the Neighbors app and for every qualifying download they would receive credits toward free Ring cameras. The result was a “self-perpetuating surveillance network: more people download Neighbors, more people get Ring, surveillance footage proliferates, and police can request whatever they want,”
“Surveillance capacities that were once ruled over by courts are now on offer in Apple’s App Store and promoted by local street cops. As media scholar Tung-Hui Hu observes, by using such apps, we “become freelancers for the state’s security apparatus.”

3. AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee

Image: Goodreads

It’s not surprising that AI will know you better than yourself soon. In the past few years, AI has surpassed human intelligence by learning complex games like chess in a short span and defeating humans in every game. AI has been used in diagnosing different diseases and contributing to healthcare. We won’t even realize when AI will become an integral part of our lives, in fact, it already is. It can read your DNA and even predict the risk of any diseases. If you want to understand the future of AI with a blend of short stories, AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee can give you a fresh perspective.

The book has 10 visions that explain how AI could shape our lives by 2041. These visions are short stories that revolve around themes like transformation in education and workforce, physical and mental health, privacy, human relationships, environmental sustainability, and governance. 

The Golden Elephant is a story set in Mumbai where a young woman uses an AI-powered educational app to excel in her career. It shows how AI can revolutionize education and make it accessible for all. Another story is based in Seoul, South Korea, where a woman uses AI to create her deceased daughter’s digital twin. This story starts a discussion on the ethical use of AI in healthcare and other industries.

Each story from different parts of the world provokes readers to think about the different changes AI can bring and how we can handle its implications. We can’t ignore the benefits of AI beautifully explained by the vision, The Job Savior. A story of a worker who navigates the job market using AI tools to stay relevant and competitive. It shows AI can both replace and create jobs. All we can do is keep up with the new technologies and focus on learning. AI 2041 is one of the finest books to read if you want to picture a world with AI.

My favorite quotes from AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee

“To the AI, such things were a matter of math, not love.”
“Many people think smartphones and apps already know too much about us, but XR will take things to a whole new level.”
“the greatest value of science fiction is not providing answers, but rather raising questions.”

4. The Algorithm by Hilke Schellmann

Image: Goodreads

Algorithms have been used lately to make risky decisions that are generally biased. They also keep a check on your online activities without you even realizing it. This is concerning and I was tempted to read in detail about algorithms. That’s when I started reading The Algorithm by Hilke Schellmann and it was an eye-opening experience.

AI and machine learning are omnipresent and used everywhere from personalized recommendations to entertainment and healthcare. For non-technical people, this book explains algorithms in layman’s terms. It also traces the history of AI and ML till the development of automated AI systems. Algorithms are now used to diagnose diseases and personalize treatments, but there are some ethical concerns like data privacy.

The Algorithm has a detailed description of the ethical and societal implications of AI. Algorithms can be biased sometimes and lead to discrimination. It can also impose security risks like data breaches as our data is constantly collected. 

Overall this book discusses the advantages and pain points of AI we all should know. I think we need to educate our people more on AI and other technologies otherwise they won’t be able to adapt to the rapid change.

My favorite quotes from The Algorithm by Hilke Schellmann

“AI is on the brink of dominating our lives, threatening our privacy and human future — if we don’t take action now.”
“Her reporting reveals in detail how much employers already know about us and how little we know about the technologies that are used on us.”

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