Artifictional IntelligenceAgainst Humanity’s Surrender to Computers
Artifictional Intelligence
Against Humanity’s Surrender to Computers

Recent startling successes in machine intelligence using a technique called ‘deep learning’ seem to blur the line between human and machine as never before. Are computers on the cusp of becoming so intelligent that they will render humans obsolete? Harry Collins argues we are getting ahead of ourselves, caught up in images of a fantastical future dreamt up in fictional portrayals. The greater present danger is that we lose sight of the very real limitations of artificial intelligence and readily enslave ourselves to stupid computers: the ‘Surrender’.

By dissecting the intricacies of language use and meaning, Collins shows how far we have to go before we cannot distinguish between the social understanding of humans and computers. When the stakes are so high, we need to set the bar higher: to rethink ‘intelligence’ and recognize its inherent social basis. Only if machine learning succeeds on this count can we congratulate ourselves on having produced artificial intelligence.

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  • September 2018
  • 256 pages
  • 140 x 210 mm / 6 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509504114
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509504121
  • Open eBook $22.95
  • 9781509504152
Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Computers in Social Life and the Danger of the Surrender

Chapter 2. Expertise and Writing about AI: Some Reflections on the Project

Chapter 3. Language and ‘Repair’

Chapter 4. Humans, Social Contexts and Bodies

Chapter 5. Six Levels of Artificial Intelligence

Chapter 6. Deep Learning: Precedent-Based, Pattern-Recognizing Computers

Chapter 7. Kurzweil’s Brain and the Sociology of Knowledge

Chapter 8. How Humans Learn What Computers Can’t

Chapter 9. Two Models of Artificial Intelligence and the Way Forward

Chapter 10. The Editing Test and Other New Versions of the Turing Test

Appendix 1: How the Internet Works Today

Appendix 2: Little Dogs

About the Author
Harry Collins is a Fellow of the British Academy, and Distinguished Research Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University
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“If you are looking for a balanced debate on artificial intelligence, or are engaged in a critique of deep learning, concerned with the implications of singularity on society, intrigued by the notion of equivalence of human and machine intelligence, a critical observer of automation vs augmentation debate, perplexed by the ongoing interest in Turing test, or curious about what AI narratives attract AI research funding, then this book, by a critical scholar, a reflective narrator and a far-sighted teacher, Harry Collins, is for you.”
Karamjit S. Gill, AI & Society

“[Harry Collins examines] pervasive existential fears over artificial intelligence and its perceived threat in the ‘deep learning’ era. Collins probes this idea trenchantly and in considerable detail. Pointing to computers’ inability to factor in social context, master natural language use well enough to pass a severe Turing test, or wield embodied cognition, he argues that the real danger we face is not a takeover by superior computers, but slavery to stupid ones.”
Barbara Kiser, Nature

"In an age when heady promises and dark warnings from advocates of a fast-approaching 'Technological Singularity' regularly make front-page news, this book, from one of the world’s most eminent sociologists, offers timely words of caution."
J. Mark Bishop, Director of the Tungsten Centre for Intelligent Data Analytics, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Professor Collins’ insights into artificial intelligence are original and important, providing an overdue correction to 'the market-driven urge to advertise its successes', by highlighting its fundamental failures. Authoritative and technically accurate, while impressively easy to read, this book will be essential for students of AI, policy makers, business innovators and the broader public for many years."
Alan Blackwell, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge

“[E]ven as a non-industry expert, Collins has still read deeply in this area, and consequently is posing some important, challenging questions. Having already experienced long periods of AI winters this book provides a robust challenge to those techno solutionist optimists who see AI-delivered solutions through overly rose-tinted glasses.”
Simon Cocking, Irish Tech News

"The book is a tour de force of epistemology for the masses: easy to follow, and yet precise and well-informed. Collins tiptoes his way around philosophy and science, from Plato to Wittgestein to AI pioneers, in a coherent way. [...] His book will not only make AI approachable, but will also make you think on a variety of topics."
P2P Foundation Blog

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