Author: Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan
Recommended by: Stephanie Nagy, Software Developer
What will our world look like in 20 years? Now more than ever, we are reminded that the future may not look quite the way we expected. Kai-Fu Lee, the author of AI 2041, has a well-informed picture of how Artificial Intelligence will likely shape our future. By teaming up with award-winning Science Fiction author Chen Qiufan, Lee brings forth a blend of fact and fiction detailing ten possible applications of AI that are on the verge of becoming reality.
Kai-Fu Lee chose storytelling as the vehicle to bring AI concepts to life for a broad audience. Through a series of short stories, Chen Quifan crafted a vivid future with compelling characters to flesh out how new technologies might impact our lives. Each chapter ends with an analysis from Lee detailing potential personal and societal implications from the technology. He asks thought provoking questions about how AI will force us to navigate and legislate topics like bias, safety, job displacement, data security and corporate responsibility.
My favorite story was about two young brothers in foster care who were given their own AI tutors. The contrasting personalities of the boys drove each tutor to evolve in a different way to teach to their unique strengths. Using concepts from behavioral psychology and game design, one tutor turned learning into a competitive game with levels and points. The other tutor created a quiet bubble of space for an autistic student to find solace and safety.
In a nod to the Menlo spirit of storytelling, I loved the idea of using fiction to breathe life into the scenarios we will soon face. This collection of “scientific fiction” is a beautiful blend of how AI might shape our future and how we can make those changes safe and equitable for everyone. I can't wait to see how tomorrow's software developers and High Tech Anthropologists® will incorporate AI in products aligned with Menlo's mission to “end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology.”
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