With deep and exclusive reporting, across hundreds of interviews, New York Times Silicon Valley journalist Cade Metz relates the modern history of artificial intelligence (AI) in “The Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought A.I. to Google, Facebook, and the World” (Penguin).
The book brings forth a compelling narrative that does not only put into perspective what AI means to us humans, but also tells a definitive story of how a project confined to the fringes of scientific community became a buzzword for humanity.
Long dismissed as a technology of the distant future, artificial intelligence was a project once consigned to the fringes of the scientific community. Then two researchers changed everything. One was a 64-year-old computer science professor with a back problem so severe he could not drive or fly. The other was a 36-year-old neuroscientist and chess prodigy.
Though they took very different paths, together they helped catapult AI to the forefront of our daily lives and, in the process, created a business worth billion. This is the story of that technological revolution and of the arms race it has sparked among companies that range from Google to Facebook to Open AI.
It’s the story of growing international rivalry to achieve major new breakthroughs. And it’s a story that shows both the inventive best of humankind and its darker side, as advances have been counterbalanced by issues of prejudice, bias and the invasion of privacy. Cade Metz draws on unparalleled access to all the major players to create an extraordinarily vivid account of a revolution over five decades in the making. And he poses the questions that will dominate the next half-century: where will AI take us next? Are systems with truly human intelligence on the horizon? And, if so, where does that leave us?
Cade Metz is a technology correspondent with The New York Times, covering artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, virtual reality, and other emerging areas. Previously, he was a senior staff writer with Wired magazine. He works in The New York Times’ San Francisco bureau and lives across the Bay with his wife Taylor and two daughters.