"The Coming Wave" by Mustafa Suleyman

Review by Borodutch

"The Coming Wave" is hands down the best book on AI for a layperson. When listening to it, I couldn't help but notice that even though some of the author's ideas didn't sit right with me, some gave me the "aha" moments. Mustafa summarizes the progress and parallels the previous waves of exponential technology proliferation to the current AI advancement. Take a look at the following chart.

The chart of AI-assisted research is exponential, but we don't see it yet in everyday life. The reason is that humans do not see exponentials until it's too late! Remember luddites? When they were fighting, thousands of machines could replace them. A few years later? There were hundreds of thousands of these machines.

The most prominent idea by the author that comes to my mind is that this is no longer a wave; it is the beginning of a tsunami. AI will be everywhere within the next decade. Hell, I already used AI assistants on a few websites that helped me better and faster than any human could!

To be fair, "I, for one, welcome our future AI overlords." However, a few wrong turns can turn AI into a weapon of mass destruction if we don't regulate it. I already told all my friends and relatives never to trust me if I ask for money or anything else, even if I video-call them and reply in real time. Just like with nuclear energy, humanity must be careful! Not because a skynet can launch nukes on us. But because state-sponsored terrorists could use AI to launch nukes!

AI is a tool, and Mustafa underlines this in the book. Just like a knife, it isn't inherently bad. You can cut onions with it — but you could also chop up things that are illegal to chop up (please, don't)! However, humanity currently severely underestimates the effect AI is going (and already has) to have on our everyday lives. With only 10M or so people using GPT4 (according to the open data on the number of premium subs at OpenAI), we risk falling victim to a tsunami, not a wave created by an average breeze.

AI is excellent, just like nuclear power. But it must be regulated — not by a single country (no single government can handle this correctly), but by a coalition for healthy AI proliferation. This technology cannot be stopped; it's already out of the Pandora box. So what will humanity do with it? We'll see soon enough. Witness the change — it's going to be epic.