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From AI (Artificial Intelligence) that measures TV series’ liking, to the application able to recognize a love or sad song analyzing topics, text and melody.

Every day you can find on web news and editorials with astonishing titles which talk about artificial intelligence like a commodity easily available to anyone. Besides our “marketing technology” habit, there are real news and scenario to discover. But how can we remain up-to-date on the changing world and on this revolution understanding real implications on our lives?

The web helps, of course. But in order to understand closely such a complex topic, an in-depth study of a good book or essay can help you and maybe give you answers to some doubts and unusual questions.

We have chosen three books, published in 2018, by well-known international authors. These are non-fiction disclosures by University Professors, scientists and big experts in the field. We propose them for a careful reading, for animating the debate and spread the knowledge outside the restricted experts’ circle.

The first book is “Artificial Intelligence. Guide to the near future” by Jerry Kaplan.

Fellow of the Center for Legal Informatics at Stanford University, where he also teaches at the Department of Computer Science, Jerry Kaplan is one of the leading experts in artificial intelligence. Already in his previous essay “Humans need not apply” addressed the question from different points of view, and that of work automation, in particular.

Starting from this point, Kaplan in his last publication states that the impact of AI on society will not be limited to the economy, but also to social and ethical aspects. He speaks about machines able to show emotions and empathy and to provide people assistance and comfort, slowly alienating us from our fellows.

In summary, Kaplan provides an overview of the basic issues: whether the machines will ever be smarter than human beings, how the law should guarantee them the rights and how and what impact the new generation of flexible and learning machines will have on human jobs and incomes.

“Life 3.0 Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” is the book written by Max Tegmark, which is not afraid to tackle the full spectrum of points of view or the most controversial topics: from superintelligence to the meaning of existence, to consciousness and to the ultimate limits that physics imposes on life in the cosmos.

Max Tegmark, professor of Physics at MIT and President of the Future of Life Institute, wonders what advice to give to today’s children for future career or whether to fear a A.I. powered lethal weapons escalation. And he also puts the reader a million-dollar question: will Artificial Intelligence help life flourish like never or will it give us greater power than we can handle?

Stephen Hawking, English mathematician and astrophysicist, who died in March 2018, shortly after this book release stated: “We all have to ask ourselves what we can do to reap the benefits of future artificial intelligence and avoid its risks. This is the most important conversation of our time and Tegmark’s book will help you take part”.

The third book on artificial intelligence we suggest reading has been written by the Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom: “Superintelligence: trends, dangers and strategies”.

Far from being accused of luddism, Bostrom warns his readers, through a clear philosophical reasoning, on adverse side effects generated by superintelligences.

And he talks with concern and apocalyptic approach: The machines just need a small step further to take off exponentially, arising as “superintelligences” that will become unreachable for human mankind. At that point, our creation could slip away from our hands, not necessarily for pre-determined purpose, but for a side effect of their evolution. They could come to destroy us or even destroy the whole world.

Conclusion

Kaplan, Tegmark and Bostrom: three respected and critical contemporary consciences debate over Artificial Intelligence and stimulate us on deeply ponder. On one hand we’ll have the skeptics, on the other the optimists who rejoice and do not understate all that new technologies are already bringing to today’s life.