"Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI" with John Brockman

Date: 

Thursday, February 21, 2019, 6:00pm

Location: 

Brattle Theatre 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Click here for more information about this event. 

Harvard Book Store welcomes one of the nation’s leading science editors JOHN BROCKMAN—founder of the Edge Foundation and editor of Know This, This Idea Must Die, This Explains Everything, and other volumes—for a discussion of his latest book, Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI. 

About Possible Minds 
"Artificial intelligence is today's story—the story behind all other stories. It is the Second Coming and the Apocalypse at the same time: Good AI versus evil AI." —John Brockman 

More than sixty years ago, mathematician-philosopher Norbert Wiener published a book on the place of machines in society that ended with a warning: "We shall never receive the right answers to our questions unless we ask the right questions . . . The hour is very late, and the choice of good and evil knocks at our door." 

In the wake of advances in unsupervised, self-improving machine learning, a small but influential community of thinkers is considering Wiener's words again. In Possible Minds, John Brockman gathers their disparate visions of where AI might be taking us. 

The fruit of the long history of Brockman's profound engagement with the most important scientific minds who have been thinking about AI—from Alison Gopnik and David Deutsch to Frank Wilczek and Stephen Wolfram—Possible Minds is an ideal introduction to the landscape of crucial issues AI presents. The collision between opposing perspectives is salutary and exhilarating; some of these figures, such as computer scientist Stuart Russell, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and physicist Max Tegmark, are deeply concerned with the threat of AI, including the existential one, while others, notably robotics entrepreneur Rodney Brooks, philosopher Daniel Dennett, and bestselling author Steven Pinker, have a very different view. Serious, searching, and authoritative, Possible Minds lays out the intellectual landscape of one of the most important topics of our time.