cover image The Age of A.I.: And Our Human Future

The Age of A.I.: And Our Human Future

Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher. Little Brown, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-27380-0

Former secretary of state Kissinger (World Order), former Google CEO Schmidt (How Google Works), and MIT computer scientist Huttenlocher underwhelm in this stolid and unimaginative primer on artificial intelligence. “Every day, everywhere, A.I. is increasing in popularity,” they write, and trace the philosophical and intellectual roots of artificial intelligence from its antecedents in Enlightenment thinking—intelligent machines, for example, call into question “I think therefore I am”—and the postwar technological advances driven by Alan Turing and Frank Rosenblatt, who created a “neural network” for computers in 1958. While they raise thought-provoking questions about the implications of AI on geopolitics (notably as European nations debate whether to use U.S. or Chinese platforms), their musings on the impact AI has and will have on humans’ daily lives feel cursory. The authors also rely on familiar examples of AI success stories—AlphaZero, a chess-playing machine, and halicin, an AI-generated antibiotic, come up time and time again. Despite the work’s brief moments of insight and the authors’ bona fides, there isn’t much to recommend this. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Nov.)