Reviews for The Coming Wave

by Mustafa Suleyman with Michael Bhaskar

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Amid the flood of optimism about artificial intelligence, the significant dangers must be understood and assessed. Suleyman might seem like a strange person to write a book about the dangers of AI. He is the CEO and co-founder of Inflection AI, and, before that, he co-founded DeepMind (now owned by Alphabet), a company working at the leading edge of AI research. As the author shows, however, it is precisely because he is an expert that he knows enough to be fearful. He believes that within a few years, AI systems will break into the broad public market, placing enormous computing power in the hands of anyone with a few thousand dollars and a bit of expertise. Suleyman recognizes that this could bring remarkable benefits, but he argues that the negatives are even greater. One frightening possibility is a disgruntled individual using off-the-shelf AI to manufacture a deadly, unstoppable virus. Other scenarios range from disrupting financial markets to creating floods of disinformation. Suleyman accepts that the AI genie is too far out of the bottle to be put back; the questions are now about containment and regulation. There is a model in the framework established by the biomedical sector to set guidelines and moral limits on what genetic experiments could take place. The author also suggests looking at “choke points,” including the manufacturers of advanced chips and the companies that manage the cloud. The key step, however, would be the development of a culture of caution in the AI community. As Suleyman admits, any of these proposals would be extremely difficult to implement. Nonetheless, he states his case with clarity and authority, and the result is a worrying, provocative book. “Containment is not, on the face of it, possible,” he concludes. “And yet for all our sakes, containment must be possible.” An informative yet disturbing study and a clear warning from someone whose voice cannot be ignored. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.