Hi, it’s Ahmed back from the mountaintop. Well, not quite the top. This is kind of on the way down but it’s a beautiful spot and i wanted to record another book review. So something that’s been on my mind lately a lot has been AI. Specifically natural language processing.
So I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about artificial intelligence and you know how it’s going to take over the world, how it’s going to you know dominate us and make us their slaves. Most of that I believe is just conjecture and terminator and other movies that have influenced us. A book that has been very influential even for me being a practitioner of artificial intelligence right? I have a biased view of it of course. I learned a lot from this book called The Most Human Human by the author Brian Christian.
And I highly recommend this book if you’re trying to understand artificial intelligence, the bounds of artificial intelligence, and what else is involved in artificial intelligence. So kind of the pinnacle of AI according to Brian Christian and according to many is basically the touring prize. The touring prize is all about whether a chatbot can fool you enough to think that you’re talking to a human being. and there’s this contest that happens every year where everybody builds these bots that try to beat people and to try to get them to think that they’re talking to a human being. It’s a blind test where you don’t know whether you’re talking to a human being, you’re chatting with a human being, or you’re chatting with a robot.
So they have this one a word called the most “human human” and the most human AI, the most machine-like human. A funny anecdote from the book, a person that won the most machine-like human was a Phd. We just knew so much about a subject that the people who were chatting with her said there’s no way this could be a real human being no real human being would have that much knowledge about this subject. But the nice thing about the book is it tells you a lot about how computers work.
It makes you think about how human minds work right. We often equate oratory skills or language skills or intelligence. We find funny people intelligent; of course, we find mathematicians intelligent too but we index pretty highly on communication because we have a gut feel for what an intelligent person would do or say, which is why when somebody doesn’t speak your language you automatically might think, “oh that person is not as intelligent”. But yeah he breaks it down to,”hey if you really want to know what makes human beings human, is it really anything else but language”.
I personally think machines are way more powerful than us and I believe in a future where machines and human beings augment each other to make amazing outcomes whether it’s in science or it’s in driving, machines do what machines do really well, they’re not human. And humans do what humans do really well. So I’ve been trying to optimize myself to be a better human and I know I’ll never be as good of a machine as a machine is in things like adding and calculating and just being as consistent as a machine would be.
So I highly recommend Brian Christian’s book. It will be an eye-opening look into the world of AI whether you’re a computer scientist or whether you’re a complete novice or you’re an investor who’s interested in this space. At the very least you’re going to find it incredibly entertaining. There are certain parts of the book that are unexpected so if you have the audiobook version and you’re playing it in your car, don’t have your kids in the car because you’ll have to explain certain terms and you’ll have to explain certain viewpoints where I think maybe he’s being funny that it’s let’s just say it’s not rated PG in certain parts of the book. I was listening to a naughty book and it was just such a fascinating listen it was like you’re in the car and I happen to have my kid and I had to pause it really quickly so that I was like don’t worry about those words. It is a great book though again, The Most Human Human by Brian Christian. I think it’s one of the best books and one of the most entertaining books on AI that you’ll read that is not going to put you to sleep.