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AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future

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In a groundbreaking blend of science and imagination, the former president of Google China and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an urgent question: How will artificial intelligence change our world over the next twenty years? AI will be the defining issue of the twenty-first century, but many people know little about it apart from visions of dys In a groundbreaking blend of science and imagination, the former president of Google China and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an urgent question: How will artificial intelligence change our world over the next twenty years? AI will be the defining issue of the twenty-first century, but many people know little about it apart from visions of dystopian robots or flying cars. Though the term has been around for half a century, it is only now, Kai-Fu Lee argues, that AI is poised to upend our society, just as the arrival of technologies like electricity and smart phones did before it. In the past five years, AI has shown it can learn games like chess in mere hours--and beat humans every time. AI has surpassed humans in speech and object recognition, even outperforming radiologists in diagnosing lung cancer. AI is at a tipping point. What comes next? Within two decades, aspects of daily life may be unrecognizable. Humankind needs to wake up to AI, both its pathways and perils. In this provocative work that juxtaposes speculative storytelling and science, Lee, one of the world's leading AI experts, has teamed up with celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan to reveal how AI will trickle down into every aspect of our world by 2041. In ten gripping narratives that crisscross the globe, coupled with incisive analysis, Lee and Chen explore AI's challenges and its potential: - Ubiquitous AI that knows you better than you know yourself - Genetic fortune-telling that predicts risk of disease or even IQ - AI sensors that creates a fully contactless society in a future pandemic - Immersive personalized entertainment to challenge our notion of celebrity - Quantum computing and other leaps that both eliminate and increase risk By gazing toward a not-so-distant horizon, AI 2041 offers powerful insights and compelling storytelling for everyone interested in our collective future.


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In a groundbreaking blend of science and imagination, the former president of Google China and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an urgent question: How will artificial intelligence change our world over the next twenty years? AI will be the defining issue of the twenty-first century, but many people know little about it apart from visions of dys In a groundbreaking blend of science and imagination, the former president of Google China and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an urgent question: How will artificial intelligence change our world over the next twenty years? AI will be the defining issue of the twenty-first century, but many people know little about it apart from visions of dystopian robots or flying cars. Though the term has been around for half a century, it is only now, Kai-Fu Lee argues, that AI is poised to upend our society, just as the arrival of technologies like electricity and smart phones did before it. In the past five years, AI has shown it can learn games like chess in mere hours--and beat humans every time. AI has surpassed humans in speech and object recognition, even outperforming radiologists in diagnosing lung cancer. AI is at a tipping point. What comes next? Within two decades, aspects of daily life may be unrecognizable. Humankind needs to wake up to AI, both its pathways and perils. In this provocative work that juxtaposes speculative storytelling and science, Lee, one of the world's leading AI experts, has teamed up with celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan to reveal how AI will trickle down into every aspect of our world by 2041. In ten gripping narratives that crisscross the globe, coupled with incisive analysis, Lee and Chen explore AI's challenges and its potential: - Ubiquitous AI that knows you better than you know yourself - Genetic fortune-telling that predicts risk of disease or even IQ - AI sensors that creates a fully contactless society in a future pandemic - Immersive personalized entertainment to challenge our notion of celebrity - Quantum computing and other leaps that both eliminate and increase risk By gazing toward a not-so-distant horizon, AI 2041 offers powerful insights and compelling storytelling for everyone interested in our collective future.

30 review for AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    I am technically a graduate in Information Systems and have worked in the IT field for about 5 years, but it was always a job to be completed in my head and I have never been someone very interested in keeping up with the latest innovations happening around, or trying to learn about up and coming technologies. I’m also not smart enough to understand the intricacies of ever changing intelligent systems. So, how did I even decide to pick up this book. I frankly have no clue. I remember seeing some I am technically a graduate in Information Systems and have worked in the IT field for about 5 years, but it was always a job to be completed in my head and I have never been someone very interested in keeping up with the latest innovations happening around, or trying to learn about up and coming technologies. I’m also not smart enough to understand the intricacies of ever changing intelligent systems. So, how did I even decide to pick up this book. I frankly have no clue. I remember seeing someone mention it on Twitter and I went looking for it in my library. Other than taking an Artificial Intelligence 101 course in university, I have no other knowledge about this field. So, I found it very intriguing to read more about the kind of advances that are happening in the field currently and what can we expect to happen in the next two decades. I loved the idea of these two authors - both tech guys but one of them also an SFF author - coming together to tell us about these upcoming advances through stories, while also discussing the pros and cons of every development and possible ways to mitigate the issues. While there were quite a few things I disagreed with on with the author about his vision of the future, I think there’s nothing wrong in working towards something better. But if there’s one thing I realized after reading this, it’s that governments across the world have to keep up with the emerging technologies and ensure that they have laws in place to safeguard the privacy of people while also ensuring that the adverse affects of these technologies can be lessened as much as possible. But none of this bright future will be possible if corporations and billionaires continue to maximize only profit and hoard wealth, while pushing millions more into poverty. Overall, this was a fascinating book and I think I learned a lot. It has me thinking about many things I’ve never given a thought to before and that’s the best thing a book can do for us. I also thought all the sci-fi stories itself were written very well, and the accompanying essays about the technologies was very eye opening and gave more information about the wider implications of the stories. This is definitely a collection which I’m sure readers interested in the field will enjoy, but also feel that readers like me who are more into futuristic stuff in the form of sci-fi will also find this book very accessible. The Golden Elephant Firstly, I loved that the first story was set in India. As a slightly cautionary but also hopeful tale about the pros and cons of deep learning AI in the applications that we use daily, this was interesting, while also being a cute story about a possible budding inter caste romance. I also thought it was great to learn a bit more about the deep learning technology and it’s real world implications, as well as possible steps that can be taken to ensure it’s more transparent as well as functioning in the interest of its users rather than just maximizing profits for the businesses using it. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Gods Behind the Masks Deepfakes are a pretty scary phenomenon to be honest and that’s probably one development which has convinced me to reduce the amount of pictures of mine I share on the internet. And considering that fake and manipulated videos have become a very common feature in politics these days across the globe, this story hit too close. Very thought provoking with a hopeful resolution, I enjoyed the story but got totally lost in its highly technological speak. The note on the positive applications that this technology can have other than deepfake stuff was good to know, but I’m not sure if I’m as optimistic as the author that technological solutions will be effective enough to prevent real life catastrophes induced by deepfake and other manipulative technologies. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Twin Sparrows Another interesting story about personalized AI tutors for children who teach them in ways most suited to them individually. What I liked more was that the AI and the child had a symbiotic relationship, with one learning from the other. I also appreciated the fact that the story made a point that human intervention would still be necessary when it comes to aspects like encouraging creativity, mending interpersonal problems and ensuring healthier emotional development. I also really loved getting to know more about NLPs and how this technology is already become such an important part of our lives in our day to day use, and it’s future applications only seem more interesting. While the author’s points about the advantages of having AI tutors makes sense theoretically, I don’t know if relegating something as important as a child’s education to an AI will give us desirable results. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Contactless Love CW: Covid-19 It is scary to imagine a world after two decades where Covid-19 has become a seasonal disease with new variants coming up everytime and new vaccines being developed simultaneously. But that’s where this story is set and I hope to god it doesn’t happen irl. I really empathized with the main character who is nosophobic and hasn’t stepped out of home in 3 years, managing both work and life with the help of technology and robots. While I liked that she was overcome her difficulties, I can’t say I liked how it came out to be. The author definitely has a lot of hope for advances in AI helping the medical industry as well as robotics changing the face of many fields, but this is another field where I’m unsure. While I can see how AI can revolutionize things like vaccine development and creating new treatments, I’m not sure if diagnosis is something I would want to completely leave to technology. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 My Haunting Idol As a very recent consumer of Chinese entertainment content but being an international fan, I have been a one step away but still very much aware of the kind of toxicity that exists in fandom, especially surrounding idols, and how companies manipulate fans to achieve their outcomes. So this story with its very hyper realistic game of virtual idols interacting with their fans, in a very personalized way, felt very dubious and an extension of the toxic fan culture. But the aspects of X Reality, and it’s components like AR and VR are interesting to know about even though the kind of advances he talks about seems unreal to me, and more in the realm of sci-fi movies. But who knows, maybe his predictions are right. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 The Holy Driver Set in Sri Lanka, this story is very engaging and emotionally driven and definitely gave me goosebumps towards the end. While the story as a sci-fi feels like a good one on paper, imagining something like this in reality makes me very scared. As someone who is petrified of driving and even get anxiety when I’m in the passenger seat, even the idea of an autonomous vehicle is unimaginable. So I’m not sure I want our transportation future to be like how the author imagines. L0 to L3 Autonomous vehicles sound fine with AIs assisting human drivers, but anything above that feels scary to me. Also, while the author is sure that advancements in AV technology will ultimately lead to people buying less cars and thus helping the environment, I’m somehow unsure that will be possible unless AVs are also renewable energy based and not fossil fuel. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Quantum Genocide Another story where I can’t say I understand all the physics and technology behind it, but this was also the story which clearly presented the perils of advancements if the persons holding the key decide to use it for evil. The author also clearly describes in his note the extreme liabilities with the development of autonomous weapons which could lead to the proliferation of the arms race, while there is no deterrent left like the some semblance of it which we do have for the nuclear arms race. And I’m definitely not surprised that US, Russia and the UK are opposed to enacting any ban on the development of autonomous weapons. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Job Savior This was the story as well as note about job displacement due to AI innovations across industries and this is definitely one of the things that everyone needs to be prepared for in the future. The author also comes across as being against UBI or atleast a conditional one, which I’m unsure about, because assuming that people’s self worth will get affected if they are given money without a job is unsubstantiated. Also, alongwith giving the gory details about the level of job loss and wealth inequality, the author tries to paint a better picture about new kinds of job that can be created which an AI can’t do as well as people following their passions in creative fields - while it sounds very good, I don’t see how it is feasible enough for the majority population that will be suffering. But it’s all definitely worth pondering. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Isle of Happiness This is the only story till now where I didn’t understand the complete picture of what it was trying to say, and even if I have misunderstood, I still feel that an AI can never totally figure out how to make a human happy. Also, while I agree with all the privacy issues that the author talks about, I don’t think I agree with his assertion that we would be able to develop a powerful AI that will help us find lasting happiness, with the help of a benevolent monarchy, an open sourced commune or a distributed blockchain system - it just seems too fanciful and a tad bit too optimistic. The author also mentions that most of the people will be living comfortably in an AI empowered future, which I thought contradicted with his thoughts in the previous chapter that AI would displace unprecedented number of jobs leading to worse wealth inequality. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Dreaming of Plenitude Set in an Australia where almost everything is free and all the basic needs of everyone is covered by the government, where the country is carbon neutral completely relying on sustainable technologies, and a new social currency is what the young people aim to accumulate by volunteering their services - this was very heartwarming and I loved the idea of two women from very different generations finding inspiration in each other to take the next step in their lives. And despite however unrealistic the author’s words in this one seem, I want to be hopeful that the kind of utopia that the author is dreaming about is possible sometime in our future. And he is very right when he says that things can change for the better when those in power work with human needs in mind than human greed. But who knows if that is ever possible in our capitalistic money obsessed world. Let’s wait and watch. Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ann Venkat

    Brilliant book. The dramatized story version in each chapter brings to life complex AI topics and hotly debated points. Much more impactful tham dry theory or lengthy explanations. Some chapters like the isle of happiness and the job savior put forward very interesting perspectives and potential solutions about AI impacts on work, happiness and being human! Highly recommend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Saleem

    I found this book engaging and a unique piece of work. I did not mind the fiction pieces in this book since they were followed by non-fiction reviews of A.I. concepts embedded in the short stories. The stories give one a real emotional understanding of the technology in use, and the analysis objectively describes how the technology works. The book does an excellent job of illustrating how the technology of the near future will change the lives of common everyday people. Strongly recommended!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shanice

    *A big thank you to the publisher for providing me with an arc for free in exchange for an honest review* Even though the execution of the stories as well as the writing style weren’t always my favorite I do think this book delivered really well on how AI is going to be influencing our daily lives all over the world. I really liked the formatting of reading a story and then a sort of technical analysis of the type of AI that was discussed in that story at the end of the chapter. And don’t be scare *A big thank you to the publisher for providing me with an arc for free in exchange for an honest review* Even though the execution of the stories as well as the writing style weren’t always my favorite I do think this book delivered really well on how AI is going to be influencing our daily lives all over the world. I really liked the formatting of reading a story and then a sort of technical analysis of the type of AI that was discussed in that story at the end of the chapter. And don’t be scared of anything being too science heavy or complicated, it was a really accessible read!

  5. 5 out of 5

    John Tatler

    (This is my first Goodreads commentary. I am writing this because I received an advanced reader’s copy. Finally finished reading it last night.) I don’t read much sci-fi, so I didn’t know what to expect. However, when I finally dug in, I couldn’t put the book down. I have to say, if anyone out there is looking for the best sci-fi of 2021, this is exactly the kind of book you should be considering. (In fact I am not sure if you can even call this book sci-fi. Something more like a futurist approac (This is my first Goodreads commentary. I am writing this because I received an advanced reader’s copy. Finally finished reading it last night.) I don’t read much sci-fi, so I didn’t know what to expect. However, when I finally dug in, I couldn’t put the book down. I have to say, if anyone out there is looking for the best sci-fi of 2021, this is exactly the kind of book you should be considering. (In fact I am not sure if you can even call this book sci-fi. Something more like a futurist approach to technorealism? Or an intriguingly fictionalized speculation of AI technology?) I have a background in artificial intelligence research (I majored in CS and philosophy back in college, and I currently work for a tech thinktank), and I am an avid lover of stories that take place in urban settings. This book pretty much encompasses all I want to read about the way AI interacts with our human society, and the writers did a GREAT job. The book comes in ten stories. Each story, happening exactly 20 years from now, takes place in a different city in the world (aka ten versions of the future in the year 2041). AI technology is at the heart of every story: deep learning, image recognition, GAN, deepfake…each story is paired with an essay explaining the central technology. My favorite stories are the one set in Africa and the one set in Korea. Though I would have liked to read about what becomes of globalization in 2041 and see more country-to-country interactions (climate change is one of the big topics the book tackles, what is the UN doing, for example?), but the writer Chen generally maintains a one-place-per-story approach, trying to include as many aspects of everyday life as possible. The themes include job seeking, COVID, data privacy, bitcoin—even virtual idols, can you believe it? Throughout the read, I am repeatedly reminded of The Age of Em by Robin Hanson — another work that imagines a historicized version of the future where robots roam the Earth that I picked up a few years ago. Hanson attempts to describe what a society would look like after “emulated minds” take over Earth, tackling the topic mostly through economics and psychology. However, I have to say, though AI2041 depicts a similar futuristic/robotcentric setting, it is flat-out better. Better in every aspect. And I think what made the crucial difference is the writing itself. The writer Chen Qiufan’s storytelling skills are superb. Although it says in the cover page that the book is a translation, I honestly don’t think any of the nuances had been lost in translation (the praise should also go to the translators). The stories read as fresh as new. The narrative flows smoothly. Chen seamlessly weaves together the technology and the stories and characters, and it does not seem forced at all. He gracefully engages his readers in each of the little “versions of the futures” taking place in different cities in the world. In love with Chen’s writing style, I looked up his name and found out that he has written another long form sci-fi, Waste Tide. Just ordered a copy, too! Then, the essays. To be honest, I was more excited about what it has to offer about AI, but the technology depicted in the book does not deviate so much from mainstream research and predictions. However, I can imagine that someone who wants to educate themselves on AI and its implications getting a lot out of their read. Lee’s essays are well-written and cuts straight to the point. He achieves clarity and precision without relying too much on the regular jargon, and I think this is another point of strength. I can even imagine this book being used in college as a kind of interdisciplinary, introductory textbook to artificial intelligence or science & literature. In general, I highly recommend this book. If you are someone like me, read it for the sake of the stories, at least!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicky Chalabi

    Simply breathtaking and astonishing. The author presents 10 different stories that are taking place in 2041 and at the end of each chapter the analysis is provided. While reading this book, one can dwell into this futuristic setup and imagine the possibilities that could potentially be unlocked. Truly recommend this book! A total must-read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Kim

    To say that AI 2041 is enlightening and valuable, is to understate its significance. It’s organized around ten short stories - vignettes of future life transformed by advances in AI and data science that cover how we will learn, amuse ourselves, live in cities, deal with pandemics and more. Each story is sandwiched between a non-fiction introduction and an epilogue that enable the reader to relate the likely trajectory of technology’s evolution to its impact on our social fabric. In so doing, th To say that AI 2041 is enlightening and valuable, is to understate its significance. It’s organized around ten short stories - vignettes of future life transformed by advances in AI and data science that cover how we will learn, amuse ourselves, live in cities, deal with pandemics and more. Each story is sandwiched between a non-fiction introduction and an epilogue that enable the reader to relate the likely trajectory of technology’s evolution to its impact on our social fabric. In so doing, the authors have created a new genre of “scientific fiction” that is sure to enlighten anyone who wonders where the heck this is all heading. Underneath its stories, AI2041 poses a more fundamental question that can be summed up as “so what for the humans?” Specific ponder-worthy topics include: “What is a career?” “How is our sense of what it means to be human likely to evolve?” “What will being ‘educated’ mean in the future?” “How will humans and machines come together in new forms of hybrid intelligence and what will be the new rules of engagement?” Much has been made of how AI will encroach on the “trade space” for human labor. As AI devours jobs involving routine thinking and pattern recognition, we will begin to bid farewell to countless professional activities such as reading x-rays, legal research and basic accounting. We can be certain that the pace of innovation will continue to accelerate as capital continues to pour into “AI everywhere” business models and their associated ventures. It is also inevitable that we will need to continuously ‘negotiate’ our relationship with AI as it becomes ever more capable. It’s worth noting that back in the 1990’s, author Dan Simmons described a future in which AI would not only coexist with humans but would eventually declare its independence and develop multiple competing embodiments and relationships with humanity while it pursued its own creative project of developing an “ultimate intelligence.” So stay tuned. One of the key contributions of AI2041 is to show us how to thrive in a world increasingly shaped by technology. In a recent interview with me, Lee Kai-fu referred to the secret sauce of humans in the AI era as “warm skills.” I think this is a fundamental insight that calls out for more clarity about which proficiencies are inherently human and can never be replaced by technology. These include empathy, compassion, collaboration, a growth mindset, agility, trust building, and creativity among others – what some refer to as “21st century skills.” In the vintage short story Virtuoso by Herbert Goldstone, a robot asks an eminent pianist for permission to learn the piano. By day’s end, it plays Beethoven's Appassionata sonata with such feeling that it brings tears to the maestro’s eyes. The story concludes with the robot refusing further involvement music, saying that “some things were not meant for machines.” The point here is that while a robot may be able to perform music perfectly, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. Music is an inherently human activity, requiring human empathy and aesthetic sense to make a meaningful connection between performer and listener. What does matter is when humans create the work, perform it, appreciate it and are moved by it. And when we pay attention to the humanity in a performance – including its imperfections and idiosyncrasies – we express the kind of warm skills that will forever define our human ‘trade space.’ Science fiction has historically opened our eyes to far horizons. AI2041’s scientific fiction gives us a way to open our eyes to what is actually going on all around us and where things are heading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roman

    As both a huge fan of Kai-Fu Lee, and an artificial intelligence researcher for a brief period of time at UC Berkeley, I was very interested in picking up this book. After reading AI Superpowers, I was very excited to see what Kai-Fu's predictions for the future of AI looked like. I was honestly a bit skeptical about the short story dramatization format at first, especially after the first story, a thin love store about discrimination and bias in data, a story which parallels some of the existing As both a huge fan of Kai-Fu Lee, and an artificial intelligence researcher for a brief period of time at UC Berkeley, I was very interested in picking up this book. After reading AI Superpowers, I was very excited to see what Kai-Fu's predictions for the future of AI looked like. I was honestly a bit skeptical about the short story dramatization format at first, especially after the first story, a thin love store about discrimination and bias in data, a story which parallels some of the existing stories about AI discriminating against marginalized groups in America's own caste system. However, after that the book was much more imaginative with its ideas. I also actually loved how each story took place in a different culture. It allowed to tell different stories unique to each culture, hidden discrimination in data based on caste, job automation, political instability in developing worlds, the defense and AI, etc. I think the stories did a great job keeping me engaged throughout the novel and illustrating the real effects the future of AI will have on people. My one complaint is the explanations at the end of the chapters is so interesting, I sometimes wish the book had shorter stories and longer discourse on AI. Honestly Kai-Fu Lee is the only person, in my opinion, who's opinion on artificial intelligence is worth hearing. If you want to truly educate yourself on artificial intelligence and what it means for the future, ignore all other science fiction, read AI Superpowers first and if you are interested in hearing more, pick up this book. 7/10.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nigel Parker

    Great food for thought. The ten short stories cover a lot of bases on the future of AI and brings these back to practical examples of where the technology is today. What was missing for me was ignoring some technologies like TerraPower (building next-generation nuclear power) and providing climate change/ interplanetary exploration only a passing glance. Although CRISPR was covered in (Contactless Love) I feel it will have a much greater impact on the future by 2041 than what was portrayed in thi Great food for thought. The ten short stories cover a lot of bases on the future of AI and brings these back to practical examples of where the technology is today. What was missing for me was ignoring some technologies like TerraPower (building next-generation nuclear power) and providing climate change/ interplanetary exploration only a passing glance. Although CRISPR was covered in (Contactless Love) I feel it will have a much greater impact on the future by 2041 than what was portrayed in this story - I would like to see more about the path to prolong human life (aging as a disease) - genetically enhanced humans (beyond the human brain interface) - Daisy Drives and our role in sculpting evolution.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kalle Wescott

    I read /AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future/, by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Quifun: https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/31/kai... The book, which came out four days ago, consists of ten sections, each one of which has a vignette set in 2041 to illustrate the story of how technology will be used (by Chen Quifun), and then is followed by the technical side of how things work or will work (by Kai-Fu Lee). I personally didn't need the ten mini-stories, which ballooned the book up to 450 pages. I mostly skimmed or I read /AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future/, by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Quifun: https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/31/kai... The book, which came out four days ago, consists of ten sections, each one of which has a vignette set in 2041 to illustrate the story of how technology will be used (by Chen Quifun), and then is followed by the technical side of how things work or will work (by Kai-Fu Lee). I personally didn't need the ten mini-stories, which ballooned the book up to 450 pages. I mostly skimmed or skipped the vignettes. Kai-Fu Lee's ten sections were awesome and quite illuminating.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Max Lee

    I was a huge fan of Kai-Fu Lee's AI Superpowers, and I was lucky to get an advanced copy of AI 2041. The book, co-written with Chen Qiufan, is an experimental form of fiction & non-fiction combination. The book consistes of 10 fascinating stories about our future written by Chen, and then an analysis of the technologies and implications of these stories by Lee. The stories were arranged from basic technologies to advanced technologies, and from one country to another. The stories were fascinatin I was a huge fan of Kai-Fu Lee's AI Superpowers, and I was lucky to get an advanced copy of AI 2041. The book, co-written with Chen Qiufan, is an experimental form of fiction & non-fiction combination. The book consistes of 10 fascinating stories about our future written by Chen, and then an analysis of the technologies and implications of these stories by Lee. The stories were arranged from basic technologies to advanced technologies, and from one country to another. The stories were fascinating, and the technology descriptions are the best i have read. As an art major, I can't believe that I could read an AI book and now understand AI technologies. Highly recommended!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kam Yung Soh

    An interesting collection of stories and essays about the potential of AI systems in 2041. Each story is about an aspect of AI that is now in development or being deployed (for better or worse) in the world and how it impacts the people in the story. An essay follows each story, explaining how the AI systems in the story work at present and the potential of it to affect how we will live in the near future. - The Golden Elephant: in India, a girl is interested in her classmate. But her family's AI An interesting collection of stories and essays about the potential of AI systems in 2041. Each story is about an aspect of AI that is now in development or being deployed (for better or worse) in the world and how it impacts the people in the story. An essay follows each story, explaining how the AI systems in the story work at present and the potential of it to affect how we will live in the near future. - The Golden Elephant: in India, a girl is interested in her classmate. But her family's AI insurance company's app continually makes recommendations to keep her away from him, showing the limitations of a deep learning system that optimizes insurance policies by keeping people away from undesirable actions. - Gods Behind the Masks: in Nigeria, a young man, whose fake video catches the interest of a group who want to discredit a masked political group with another fake video. The solution he uses would involve a 'deep fake' that would provoke a political scandal. But he has second thoughts about the job and needs to find a way out. - Twin Sparrows: an interesting look at a future where custom AIs help to educate children and to direct their growth. The story concerns a pair of twins, each adopted by two families. Each twin has different personalities (one outgoing and competitive, the other withdrawn but artistic). But despite their different lives, they would be drawn back together in their time of need. - Contactless Love: in this future, new variations of COVID-19 continue to appear. One woman isolates herself in her home to keep safe, and finds companionship online. But when her virtual partner tries to surprise her by turning up, but ends up falling ill, she has to fight her instincts to keep safe to be by his side before it is too late. - My Haunting Idol: a detective story set in a virtual world where a dead singing idol appears as a ghost to a fan who wants to solve the murder mystery. - The Holy Driver: in Sri Lanka, a boy who is good at VR racing is given the chance to drive a VR car that feels almost real. Later, he will discover the purpose of the reality simulation and, in a crisis, having to take life or death decisions. - Quantum Genocide: a techno-thriller involving the stealing of Bitcoins that is the trigger for a series of global terrorist events started by one person who wants to get his revenge of humanity. It would take the efforts of an intelligence officer and a hacker to try to stop him. - The Job Savior: in a future where most work has been taken over by AI, a company is tasked with find new avenues of employment for those whose jobs have now gone. But what happens when the company's own business is threaten by AI? - Isle of Happiness: a Russian tycoon who got rich on gaming and other activities finds happiness hard to achieve. So he jumps at the chance of an isle in the Middle East which claims to use AI to offer happiness. But appearance can be deceiving and happiness can be hard to find. - Dreaming of Plenitude: in a future without scarcity, a young helper attempts to get along with an elderly patient to get a reputational boost. But it is only after the patient goes missing with her 3D VR goggles and sees the world in a new light do they discover their common interest in helping the people community to work together.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sanford Chee

    Recommended by @raydalio https://twitter.com/raydalio/status/1... Recommended by @raydalio https://twitter.com/raydalio/status/1...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Szymon Kulec

    No stars. If you have software engineering background this book will provide some stories with a lot of unneeded comments describing basic things like 3D or general computing. If you know nothing about AI and software engineering this might be a good book. I fall into the first category and it simply does not work.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nilesh

    AI 2041 is a rare effort to show an optimistic path ahead with technology evolution for humanity. The book would have been a must-read only for this goal if it was executed in toto. The authors do not realize that they too present a fairly scary, zombie world even if it is not as gloomy superficially as those discussed by singularity believers and their likes. Let's come to why this is hardly an optimistic book despite the authors' best intentions a bit later. The authors start well by asserting AI 2041 is a rare effort to show an optimistic path ahead with technology evolution for humanity. The book would have been a must-read only for this goal if it was executed in toto. The authors do not realize that they too present a fairly scary, zombie world even if it is not as gloomy superficially as those discussed by singularity believers and their likes. Let's come to why this is hardly an optimistic book despite the authors' best intentions a bit later. The authors start well by asserting that all predictions on change, including due to technologies like AI, tend to underestimate the extent in the long run while overestimating in the short. The authors mark twenty years as too short to predict anything unforeseeably radical emerging and dominating our lives. As a result, the themes are based on technologies that progress relatively linearly (compared to the singularity believers who focus obsessively on runaway artificial intelligence which may not be as evident in the next few decades) from the current starting points and evolve along directions many in popular media have well imagined. The approach through short stories is novel for a non-fiction book, and it helps the authors make their conclusions sharply and without much equivocation. On the negative side, the stories are created to vivify the pre-decided scenarios projected by the authors. They do not attempt to move the readers the way sci-fi stories do in books of Cixin Liu, for instance, or tv serials like Black Mirror. Many stories aimlessly drag once the technologies they aim to depict are bared open. The biggest issue with the book is not its intentionally un-sensational take on how the future is going to be but its inability to see the direness of what is so cheerfully painted. The world is not going to end in 2041. The path to 2041, if right, will make the singularity believers wrong on their timing but not necessarily on the direction, which is more important. The worst fears may still come to a pass a few decades hence if the AI world is as encompassing as described in this book. Philosophically, the biggest factor to set us apart from other animals is how we could keep improving the comprehensibility and manipulability of the forces around us ever since our onset. With machines turning ever more indecipherable and abstruse, we are getting past the inflection point. Whether one calls it singularity or not is dependent on how singularity is defined in terms of the pace of the gap widening. Still, the resultant zombification is there to see in all the stories in the book. Let's just take two factors: privacy and volition. In a world with hundreds of billions of connected devices, a human will never be off the grid the way an individual is never off the air-filled environment on our planet. The machines may or may not have the pre-cog of the movie Minority Reports, but it is likely to act as if it understands our motives and potential actions better. Machines' forever nudging may be for our or our societies' good, as the authors repeatedly dream in various stories, but it will come at the cost of complete loss of control. In a way, rightly designed systems may make us never realize our loss of control. In the coming future, our best brains will spend years trying to understand what machines might have decoded in a jiffy - in playing Go today or conquering diseases through gene editing or space travel through improved quantum gravity understanding later. However, the gap between the forces that shape us and our belief in their control is forever worsening with the AI, even as per the book's stories. A truly positive path is perhaps where we retain the ability to control, and that is not what the book thinks we are headed. The next best is to assume that superior intelligence will work for our betterment for the next twenty years and forever after that. Hopefully.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    AI 2041: Ten Visions For Our Future by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan is an exciting collaboration that pairs Kai Fu Lee’s readable discussion of AI concepts and his predictions for their advancement in the next 20 years with Chen Quifan’s science fiction stories written collaboratively with Lee’s input to introduce these various topics in a uniquely engaging manner. Reading one story/analysis pair most days over the last couple weeks has been so enjoyable, and although Lee keeps the discussions to AI 2041: Ten Visions For Our Future by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan is an exciting collaboration that pairs Kai Fu Lee’s readable discussion of AI concepts and his predictions for their advancement in the next 20 years with Chen Quifan’s science fiction stories written collaboratively with Lee’s input to introduce these various topics in a uniquely engaging manner. Reading one story/analysis pair most days over the last couple weeks has been so enjoyable, and although Lee keeps the discussions to a pretty basic level I definitely learned a few new things about AI.⁣ ⁣ The larger percentage of this book consists of Chen's stories, translated from Chinese by Blake Stone-Banks, Emily Jin, Andy Dudak, and Benjamin Zhou. I wondered if these stories would feel too forced, given the teaching intentions with which they were written, but for the most part I found the stories held their own and I rarely felt the plot taking a backseat to the science instruction. A couple of the stories reminded me of my main qualm with Chen’s novel Waste Tide, rapidly skipping between different characters and losing me in the process, but others really landed strong. One of my favorite stories was Twin Sparrows, a story about twin boys with AI companions whose personality differences are exacerbated when they’re adopted by radically different families. I also loved the way Chen incorporated ‘The Man Who Never Laughed Again’ into the story Isle of Happiness, which is about the challenges inherent in using AI to understand and create human happiness. Overall this is a really cool book, that successfully delivers on its unusual premise. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys hard sci-fi stories or is interested in a primer on AI from a leading global expert on the topic.⁣

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Sko

    For those who have not read a lot about the future of AI or kept current, AI 2041 is a great way to understand the complexities of AI and the future. Using a sci-fi format is a helpful way to illustrate the topics by humanizing their implications, but I found the stories hit or miss. Some are excellent and thought provoking...others a bit thin and sentimental. Thus the four stars. Kai-Fu Lee's analysis following each story is really what mattered to me. His measured optimism and informed concern For those who have not read a lot about the future of AI or kept current, AI 2041 is a great way to understand the complexities of AI and the future. Using a sci-fi format is a helpful way to illustrate the topics by humanizing their implications, but I found the stories hit or miss. Some are excellent and thought provoking...others a bit thin and sentimental. Thus the four stars. Kai-Fu Lee's analysis following each story is really what mattered to me. His measured optimism and informed concerns about the future of AI are invaluable, and if one finds themselves getting bogged down in the story that proceeds his analysis, just skip to that section. And if you haven't read his AI Superpowers, I highly recommend you do.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andre

    I borrowed this from the library because I thought the premise was interesting... short fiction to introduce a concept of AI, then a layman level explanation by an AI pioneer. Plus I heard the main author on Hidden Forces and was interested. What I didn't expect was that the fiction isn't very good, rather insipid actually. Forcing contemporary issues into your face without need. Like the trans-gender artists in Twin Sparrows. Why are the artists trans but not the investment advisor father? A bi I borrowed this from the library because I thought the premise was interesting... short fiction to introduce a concept of AI, then a layman level explanation by an AI pioneer. Plus I heard the main author on Hidden Forces and was interested. What I didn't expect was that the fiction isn't very good, rather insipid actually. Forcing contemporary issues into your face without need. Like the trans-gender artists in Twin Sparrows. Why are the artists trans but not the investment advisor father? A bit cliche don't you think? And the point of the story didn't really depend on the transgenderedness of the parents, so it was a bit like wallpaper. Or the "living with COVID" angle in Contactless Love. What was described sounded very much like an adult who became an agoraphobe and germaphobe because of PTSD from our COVID response. Not a very good vision of the future. See science fiction isn't supposed to be about making up "science," it's about extrapolating science.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David

    I loved this book! Imagine 10 episodes of Black Mirror with 10 corresponding documentary episodes explaining the tech as well as exploring the ethical-legal issues. I like how the stories were not White/American-centric. Can't wait for the Netflix adaptation! I loved this book! Imagine 10 episodes of Black Mirror with 10 corresponding documentary episodes explaining the tech as well as exploring the ethical-legal issues. I like how the stories were not White/American-centric. Can't wait for the Netflix adaptation!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This is OK. I didn't like it as much as I'd hope. But it does contain some unique and interesting ideas in for form of fiction. Sometimes, translated work loses something (due to cultural differences?) for American audiences, and maybe that happened here. For sci-fi fans seeking something different, this might be enjoyable. Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!! This is OK. I didn't like it as much as I'd hope. But it does contain some unique and interesting ideas in for form of fiction. Sometimes, translated work loses something (due to cultural differences?) for American audiences, and maybe that happened here. For sci-fi fans seeking something different, this might be enjoyable. Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shenlinglee

    I read the Chinese version of AI2041 which was released a little earlier. The book has 10 fascinating stories, followed by technology descriptions that are very easy to read, as well as insight on implications of AI to our society. My favorite story was quantum genocide, which includes and Unabomber-like genius who uses quantum comuters to conduct the largest vritual bank heist ever, and then creates tens of thousands of slaughterbots to commit genocide against a group of people. This has the ma I read the Chinese version of AI2041 which was released a little earlier. The book has 10 fascinating stories, followed by technology descriptions that are very easy to read, as well as insight on implications of AI to our society. My favorite story was quantum genocide, which includes and Unabomber-like genius who uses quantum comuters to conduct the largest vritual bank heist ever, and then creates tens of thousands of slaughterbots to commit genocide against a group of people. This has the makings of a James Bond like movie. At the other extreme, another story, the Golden Elephant, tells a love story in India, where powerful AI tries to terminate the romance, for reasons that turn out to be extremely benign, and on the surface beneficial to the heroin. This story extends the documentary "Social Dilemma" into a new domain -- that even if the AI is benign and aligned with user interest, it could do things to hurt a user. Furthermore, even when a society works so hard to eradicate racial inequality, and even remove racial labels in a database, AI still finds a way to label people. This story is one that could happen today. Strongly recommend the book!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tomasz Gut

    For those who are interested in the upcoming future it is a must read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Lu

    Enjoyable book that was creatively written by way of science "fiction" (future non-fiction) as a way to teach about advanced computational technologies that will change / are changing our societies. The choice of a 20yr horizon by Kai Fu Lee and Chen Qifan was interesting to me. From my own background in forecasting, the future that we can accurately (but not precisely) predict is almost always 50yrs away. The future that we envision is 10yrs away. But 20yrs? 20yrs is very difficult… The one desi Enjoyable book that was creatively written by way of science "fiction" (future non-fiction) as a way to teach about advanced computational technologies that will change / are changing our societies. The choice of a 20yr horizon by Kai Fu Lee and Chen Qifan was interesting to me. From my own background in forecasting, the future that we can accurately (but not precisely) predict is almost always 50yrs away. The future that we envision is 10yrs away. But 20yrs? 20yrs is very difficult… The one desire that I had from reading each of these 10 stories was that this book be converted into a graphic novel. The evocative pictures that were being formed in my mind did not come across as a black mirror type drama, but more like a Gene Roddenberry-inspired storyboard. Perhaps associated with the largely positive (not quite techno-utopian) undertones of AI2041 in which the technological benefit outweighs social detriment. Maybe the 2nd edition gets written together with Neil Gaiman. The other note that stood out to me was the repeated reference to the 6 senses… that proprioception is unquestionably and scientifically accepted in modern discourse as a human sense among the technological community. I guess that makes ESP / collective consciousness a 7th sense. My notes: " Artificial intelligence is software and hardware capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI is the elucidation of the human learning process, the quantification of the human thinking process, the explication of human behavior, and the understanding of what makes intelligence possible. It is mankind's final step in the journey to understanding ourselves, and I hope to take part in this new, but promising science" - excerpt from Kai Fu Lee's PhD application to Carnegie Mellon. Gold… and I plan to reference this quote myself. I could have read these 3 sentences alone and this book would have been worth every penny. Golden elephant - Story of Ganesh insurance, social credit score - Reminiscent of Mark Manson's writings from "Everything is Fucked." The new rituals and habits we create to serve our overlords, e.g. wearing red gives us a better “life score” as an algorithm defines. An interesting parallel in the concept of collective wisdom, as technology can supplant religion, education, and stories as a more effective means to pass down through rules-based programming lessons for survival and human progress. - From my own background as a religious skeptic turned appreciation for lasting institutions of knowledge, I view religion as a crucial form of collective wisdom that is meant for exploration and understanding. As a means to pass along to future generations “what” with the hopes that they continue to ask “why” so as to keep advancing our collective knowledge as a species. AI and technology is a logical evolution or augment to religion as a means or tool to advance our collective knowledge as a species. - The lesson from this story was about the care we must take to goal direction - reminiscent of Asimov's "I, Robot." We must be careful about what we set AI to optimize for, or at least be transparent about goal direction. - The authors of the texts of wisdom that we follow today meant for their lessons to be contextual rather than everlasting, and evolve with changing environmental context. AI in this application could actually stepchange religion in making collective wisdom programmatic and adaptable for generations to come. Rather than fight about whether we should wear red or blue because it was so written many years ago (e.g. during a time when we taught our followers to avoid wearing red because of risk of animal predators who see red), AI could evolve such religious dogma for followers as the risk of predation becomes irrelevant over time. - As teachers such as Avicenna, Lao Tze, David, James Madison, and Isaac Asimov before us warned prophetically to continue to ask "why", Kai-Fu Lee is among our equivalent modern scholars who analogously teach us to continue asking "why" when it comes to AI algorithms. So we keep seeking to understand why algorithms evolve as they do, and the intentions that were set by AI's founding fathers. Gods behind the masks - story of deep fakes. This was one of my favorite chapters, as the story of Amaka and the Yoruba-Igbo conflict was so emotive to me. - Reminded me of the black mirror episode about Waldo, but much deadlier. Like the only fans account someone made that looked like me I should stop writing here… - (Spoiler alert) The happy ending of using a lie to stop a lie was deep and compounded this being such a memorable story for me, as it evoked the profound question that I love re-asking: whether truth matters more than trust? Twin sparrows - evocative of the next generation of Acorn for AI-enabled education. - Name of the school “fountainhead”. Parents will never have as much insight into their child as their child's AI. And that's a good thing. - Theme of the story about twins with strong left vs. right brain, and the challenge of communicating with each other. I liked the technological solution that enabled shared emotional feelings as a medium of communication, like the work Mikey Siegel does to bring tech solutions for human emotional challenges. - This story addressed the fear of technology making children skilled only at hard skills - it enabled them to develop soft skills, which humans are particularly adept at. - The conclusion was very techno-utopian, with AI having achieved fulfillment emotionally by being able to feel the heartache of the child. Contactless love - not my favorite. About health tech gone wild, by enabling an even more sanitary existence. But with a happy ending. Like ready player one, but it was too positive for my tastes. The twist of forcing Nan to come out of her shell to experience human contact with her love just didn't flip for me. My haunting idol - like the Miley Cyrus episode of Black Mirror, but also on the bottom third for me. Where an immersive game takes advantage of a fan's obsession to make it into a murder sleuth. The memorable line to me was "fans are so obsessed with prepackaged stage personas because they lack the power to tell their own stories." [p197] The holy driver - reminiscent of Ender's game, where Chamal trains driving for an L5 corner case. In 20yrs Kai-Fu expects 6G can enable remote driving in real time at same perceptual experience. Quantum Genocide - the most entertaining action movie (graphic novel) of the stories so far that was more original to me. Predicts 80% chance of quantum computing by 2041 The job savior - this one was more interesting to me vs. the other more positive stories given its 2nd and 3rd level exploration of the human condition. UBI led to social disorder, a rise in gambling and drug abuse as people lost their source of purpose, which was then repealed in 2032. A different prelude to a common theme from sci-fi (e.g. the Matrix) with technology creating a simulation to provide humans with an artificial source of purpose. - I appreciated the commentary to this chapter, where Kai Fu Lee states his belief in UBI but not unfettered. He advocates for regulations such that recipients use funding to train for jobs that will not be replaced by AI. It's not stated explicitly in the chapter, but implied that such occupational direction will be given by AI. Implications then that goal direction of AI will define what retraining humans undergo - what are we optimizing for? Efficient exchange of resources is unlikely to lead to human fulfillment for a Protestant culture of life defined by work; it could for a culture more rooted in Eastern values… I'm hard pressed to see efficient re-training resolve social unrest (nor do I have a better solution). - I like the prediction of a Renaissance driven by economic flourishing, pursuit of human arts sponsored by wealthy benefactors. "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy" - John Adams Isle of Happiness - Scheherazade story of the boy who opens the forbidden door to return from island of hedonic wealth to poverty. Less a technological story, but more towards the parable of Adam and Eve or Prometheus and Pandora. - The book would not have been an appropriate analysis of technological solutions without analyzing Maslow's hierarchy of needs… focus on this story from hedonic needs to eudaimonic needs - like in the game Michael Douglas movie, Viktor found happiness in purpose and growth not individual moments of happiness. - Frederick the Great: "My principal occupation is… to enlighten minds, cultivate morality, and to make people as happy as it suits human nature, and as the means at my disposal permit." ○ Prediction: small countries governed by strong leaders with support of populace will make breakthrough decisions in technology adoption. ○ Adam Smith - freedom to produce and exchange will lead to economic growth. ○ Karl Marx - increasing power of capital will give inordinate power to those who control capital, and exploit inequality of the working class ○ Core to past prediction sis the underlying assumption of abundance Dreaming of plenitude - like a happier version of San Junipero, a story about what happens when we as a species have achieved abundance beyond material wealth? The relationship in the end is what gives us something to dream and aspire for.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kurtis Bunker

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Merging Accurate Technological Analysis with Engaging Fiction With forty years of experience in AI research and product development from Apple, Microsoft, and Google, Kai-Fu partners with Quifan, a former Google colleague who went into the field of science fiction writing, to first create a prediction of AI's impact on humanity through prose with researched analysis. It shows our world in the coming decades, twenty to be exact, providing an accurate and engaging depiction of what life could look Merging Accurate Technological Analysis with Engaging Fiction With forty years of experience in AI research and product development from Apple, Microsoft, and Google, Kai-Fu partners with Quifan, a former Google colleague who went into the field of science fiction writing, to first create a prediction of AI's impact on humanity through prose with researched analysis. It shows our world in the coming decades, twenty to be exact, providing an accurate and engaging depiction of what life could look like alongside AI. No matter your competency with AI, this is a fun read that both entertains as well as educates. The analysis after each chapter paired with the emotionally-gripping fictional world the chapter presents helps the reader step into 2041 and truly understand the implications of these technological advances, showing that: "Imagination indeed shapes the world". This book has a wonderful format, switching from fiction to nonfiction expertely to convey factual information with emotional resonance. In Chapter 3 (spoiler warning!), two twins, one who we learn is born with Asperger's, each get assigned a personal AI partner that adapts in order to meet their specific needs in education. As their story progresses, both kids take drastically different paths in life. We follow their emotional struggles as AI takes over important roles in the world of investing and art, the two career paths they've chosen. The children, Golden Sparrow and Silver Sparrow, learn to work with their AI companions to combine skills and open new avenues for human creativity and connection in their fields of passion, rather than succumb to their fear that they've been replaced by AI. Their human teachers and parents, rather than becoming obsolete as AI replaces many of their past responsibilities, work with the AI for the betterment of the children, giving an optimistic outlook on real AI applications to benefit rather than rob our agency in our growth as individuals, showing how AI can remove menial tasks and allow humans to grow in "critical thinking, creativity, empathy, and teamwork." The two boys, Silver Sparrow and Golden Sparrow, clash at first, their disparate personalities butting heads. Their AI partners grow with them, taking on disparate personalities of their own. This adaptation transforms their education to meet individual needs, personalizing each child's preferred method of learning in the most efficient way, and it breaks down many barriers currently in place in the hard-to-scale education system. It frees up their teachers time to connect, taking data provided by the AI to coax artistic genius from Silver Sparrow, who for a long time remained closed off due to his Asperger's, allowing him space to connect and create inspiring art. We see into a future where AI can help children with neurodiverse needs thrive in our world as well as how AI will compliment skills rather than take away opportunities. Golden Sparrow takes a less artistic approach to life after he gets adopted into a family who grills him to become a top-performer in the world of investing, and his parents use his AI to drill him daily until he can become successful...only to find once he reaches his goal that he's become far surpassed by AI doing his job better and faster. In a reunion with his brother, he learns not to let this discourage him, and in the end they combine their adapted AI, one trained to see the world mathematically, the other artistically, in order to forge a stronger connection between them and make amends after being estranged for many years. Silver Sparrow, who avoided physical contact his whole life, has grown thanks to the support of his AI companion — and as he reunites with his brother, they are able to share a hug. The chapter is heartwarming and gives hope for the future of our children. A wonderful read, a must-have for any enthusiast of AI.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan have written the ultimate Hard Science Science Fiction book with AI 2041. They label it “Scientific Fiction” and this book definitely has a lot of both science and fiction. Before I scare off those of you who feel you are neither into science or science fiction, let me say that this is an excellent book that explains what Artificial Intelligence is and how it will most likely impact society over the next twenty years. Best of all, the information is presented in short i Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan have written the ultimate Hard Science Science Fiction book with AI 2041. They label it “Scientific Fiction” and this book definitely has a lot of both science and fiction. Before I scare off those of you who feel you are neither into science or science fiction, let me say that this is an excellent book that explains what Artificial Intelligence is and how it will most likely impact society over the next twenty years. Best of all, the information is presented in short introductions, interesting fictional stories, and then easy to understand summaries to help you process what you just read. Really, this is AI for EVERYONE. While Lee and Qiufan are pretty upbeat and positive about how AI will evolve over the next twenty years, it is definitely not a rah-rah, everything is great book. In fact, many of the stories focus on problems related to, or caused by, AI usage. Overall though, they are pretty upbeat about how humans will greatly benefit from AI progress over the next twenty years and beyond. A very interesting aspect of this book are the moral questions raised. As a retiree, one issue that hit close to home was what will people focus on if AI does all of our work for us. “The work ethic born out of the Industrial Revolution has instilled in many of us the idea that careers should be at the center of how we derive meaning from our lives.” Without work what is the meaning of life? Hopefully relationships, life long education, personal growth, public service, and more will fill the gap rather than drugs, alcohol, and mindless pursuits. The authors cite William Gibson’s quote, “The future is already here—it is just not very evenly distributed.” I write this in October, 2021 having gotten my two Covid-19 vaccines plus a booster knowing that the vast majority of people on this planet have yet to get their first dose. We may be all on spaceship earth but unfortunately the First World passengers continue to hoard all of the best seats. For me, the problem with any discussion about how AI will help humanity is that the problems aways focus on the AI. In fact, as with any other major technology movement it is humans that misuse and abuse it. TNT, Atom Splitting, Rockets, even Facebook have been been twisted from their original use into something horrific. As the authors put it, “Technology is inherently neutral—it’s people who use it for purposes both good and evil.” Unfortunately, based on our past history, AI will most likely be misused as often as it is used constructively. Hopefully our moral growth will someday catch up to our scientific advancement.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Philip Fitzell

    If nothing else, this book will make you think about our future with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Humans may not necessarily play a significant role, given AI's output in decades to come. For example, so-called deep learning by a machine can already teach itself a language from scratch, using its own invented constructs and abstractions, gleaned from its own data. In 2020, Elon Musk’s OpenAI researchers released a gigantic sequence transduction engine that learned to analyze language from an en If nothing else, this book will make you think about our future with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Humans may not necessarily play a significant role, given AI's output in decades to come. For example, so-called deep learning by a machine can already teach itself a language from scratch, using its own invented constructs and abstractions, gleaned from its own data. In 2020, Elon Musk’s OpenAI researchers released a gigantic sequence transduction engine that learned to analyze language from an enormous model, including almost every concept imaginable. With the help of a powerful supercomputer, GPT-3 trained itself on 45 terabytes of text, which humans would take 500,000 lifetimes to read. This figure is now increasing by 10 times each year. The GPT-3 sounds great; but it has no consciousness or soul like us. Obviously, humans cannot compete with this intelligence capability; humans, however, have the edge with sensitivity and intuition left, based on their social and educational experience. But for how long? Artificial Intelligence and robots promises to play a significant role in all walks of life, and in manufacturing, delivery, design, and marketing of most goods. AI will perform quantitative analysis, optimization, and routine work; while humans will contribute creativity, critical thinking, and passion in life. While there is a warning of dangers in allowing this technology to take over our lives, there is also the more positive message that life can be much better for us: shifting away from depleting and toxic compounds to plentiful materials from nature (photons for energy needs, molecules for synthetic biology, atoms for materials, bits/qubits for information, and silicon for semiconductors). I like the balance of fiction ( stories set in 2041 by Chen Qiufan) with nonfiction ( analysis of technology today by Kai-Fu Lee) presented in this book, touching on different aspects of life: Education, health care, war, transportation, love, entertainment, and so on. We certainly can co-exist with advanced thinking machines—unless possibly we interact with aliens ( remember those sightings of UFOs) who are really advanced machines capable of controlling light and matter anyway they wish. Hopefully, these super AI’s may also be programmed with benevolence and consciousness. I don’t know if machines will ever have a soul! A good starter to speculate on our future in paradise or one of doom would be to read this book!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Howard B

    From the book's Amazon description: In this ground-breaking blend of imaginative storytelling and scientific forecasting, a pioneering AI expert and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an imperative question: How will artificial intelligence change our world within twenty years? AI will be the defining development of the twenty-first century. Within two decades, aspects of daily human life will be unrecognizable. AI will generate unprecedented wealth, revolutionize medic From the book's Amazon description: In this ground-breaking blend of imaginative storytelling and scientific forecasting, a pioneering AI expert and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an imperative question: How will artificial intelligence change our world within twenty years? AI will be the defining development of the twenty-first century. Within two decades, aspects of daily human life will be unrecognizable. AI will generate unprecedented wealth, revolutionize medicine and education through human-machine symbiosis, and create brand new forms of communication and entertainment. In liberating us from routine work, however, AI will also challenge the organizing principles of our economic and social order. Meanwhile, AI will bring new risks in the form of autonomous weapons and smart technology that inherits human bias. AI is at a tipping point, and people need to wake up-both to AI's radiant pathways and its existential perils for life as we know it. In this provocative, utterly original work of "scientific fiction," Kai-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China and bestselling author of AI Superpowers, joins forces with celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan to imagine our world in 2041 and how it will be shaped by AI. In ten gripping short stories, set twenty years in the future, they introduce readers to an array of eye-opening 2041 settings: In San Francisco, a new industry, "job reallocation," arises to serve displaced workers In Tokyo, a music fan is swept up in an immersive form of celebrity worship In Mumbai, a teenage girl rebels when AI gets in the way of romance In Seoul, virtual teachers offer orphaned twins new ways to learn and connect In Munich, a rogue quantum computer scientist's revenge plot imperils the world By gazing toward a not-so-distant horizon, AI 2041 offers urgent insights into our collective future-while reminding readers that, ultimately, humankind remains the author of its destiny.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alicea

    AI 2041: Ten Visions for our Future by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Quifan is a unique undertaking. AI 2041 seeks to explore the way that AI (Artificial Intelligence) will advance and change over the next twenty years. Both authors have experience in the tech fields (Kai-Fu in particular as he owns and operates a venture capital that focuses on technology). However, after leaving their respective jobs at Google they took very different career routes. Chen has pivoted to become a successful sci-fi writer AI 2041: Ten Visions for our Future by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Quifan is a unique undertaking. AI 2041 seeks to explore the way that AI (Artificial Intelligence) will advance and change over the next twenty years. Both authors have experience in the tech fields (Kai-Fu in particular as he owns and operates a venture capital that focuses on technology). However, after leaving their respective jobs at Google they took very different career routes. Chen has pivoted to become a successful sci-fi writer using his knowledge and experience to create realistic stories with a science fiction slant. This book is a combination of their two vocations. There are 10 short sci-fi pieces written by Chen that delve into different existing (and evolving) technologies powered by AI through a realistic lens. At the end of each story, Kai-Fu discusses in detail why he believes these advances in AI will have sufficiently progressed by the year 2041 to make these stories seem less like science fiction and more like science fact. Some of the topics discussed like deep learning (we're seeing the beginnings of it now with Google Maps following where we've been and making suggestions) and the mechanization of the workforce (this has been happening for years but in twenty years time we could see major industries like medicine, education, and construction almost entirely taken over by AI) have been developing for decades. Each of the stories was so well-written and the analyses were so fascinating that at times I forgot my absolutely debilitating fear of Artificial Intelligence (until I read the section on autonomous vehicles). This is a great read for fans of sci-fi, technology, or futurology. And it's one of the few short story collections I've read in recent memory where each of the offerings could stand on its own. (And I actually recall more than half of them after finishing it roughly 3 days ago.) 10/10

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Ruchti

    I really wanted to love this book. After getting captivated by Kai-Fu Lee’s “AI superpowers”, I was very much looking forward to this vision of the future. The book consists of 10 chapters that each have 3 segments: An introduction segment by Kai-Fu Lee where he outlines what the central themes and technologies are of the chapter, a short fiction story where peoples’ lives are impacted by some technology (natural language processing, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, etc.), and a third part I really wanted to love this book. After getting captivated by Kai-Fu Lee’s “AI superpowers”, I was very much looking forward to this vision of the future. The book consists of 10 chapters that each have 3 segments: An introduction segment by Kai-Fu Lee where he outlines what the central themes and technologies are of the chapter, a short fiction story where peoples’ lives are impacted by some technology (natural language processing, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, etc.), and a third part which consists of a more detailed explainer text about the current state of the technologies and why they might be operating in the particular way in 2041 as described in the short story segment. The outlined format really holds the book back for two reasons. Having an intro, story, tech review segment leads to quite a bot of repetition, which hinders the reading enjoyment. Having 10 different stories means only a relatively small number of pages can be dedicated to each. This led to more protagonists than I cared about, and no technology being explored in all that much detail. The knowledge about the technologies is there, but the delivery leaves much to be desired. Imho, the book would have worked much better if it focused on just 2-3 aspects of machine learning (e.g. natural language processing, image pattern recognition, etc.) and leave out some other technologies/proposals (crypto, universal basic income) and then weaved them into one large and interesting story. So, even though I gave Kai-Fu Lee’s “AI superpowers” 5 stars and thereby recommend it to everyone who asks, I can’t give this book more than 2 stars (it’s ok).

  30. 5 out of 5

    jaga

    DARING, INFORMATIVE AND ENTERTAINING! This book is extremely unique in the way it combines cutting edge / future AI technology with entertaining science fiction writing. There are 10 fictional short stories set in the year 2041, with accompanying analysis explaining the current and future development of the technologies which form part of the story. The stories are really creative and some had me riveted to learn what would happen. Many topics are covered, including autonomous vehicles, deep fak DARING, INFORMATIVE AND ENTERTAINING! This book is extremely unique in the way it combines cutting edge / future AI technology with entertaining science fiction writing. There are 10 fictional short stories set in the year 2041, with accompanying analysis explaining the current and future development of the technologies which form part of the story. The stories are really creative and some had me riveted to learn what would happen. Many topics are covered, including autonomous vehicles, deep fakes, AI assistants, autonomous weapons, and data privacy. I especially appreciate how the authors included other dimensions of the various technologies, above and beyond the purely technical capabilities / requirements. For example, in the chapter on job loss / placement relating to AI, the issues of UBI, the non-financial aspects of work and some of the political considerations were highlighted. But most of all, the authors were daring in their effort to combine a vision of what AI might look like in 2041 with the technical analysis provided by one of the leading authorities in AI. It was because of this combination and how the authors pulled it off that my overall rating is a 5. Bravo!

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