Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World (Hardcover)

Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World By Cade Metz Cover Image
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"This colorful page-turner puts artificial intelligence into a human perspective. Through the lives of Geoff Hinton and other major players, Metz explains this transformative technology and makes the quest thrilling."
—Walter Isaacson,
author of The Code Breaker

Recipient of starred reviews in both Kirkus and Library Journal


What does it mean to be smart? To be human? What do we really want from life and the intelligence we have, or might create?
With deep and exclusive reporting, across hundreds of interviews, New York Times Silicon Valley journalist Cade Metz brings you into the rooms where these questions are being answered. Where an extraordinarily powerful new artificial intelligence has been built into our biggest companies, our social discourse, and our daily lives, with few of us even noticing. 
Long dismissed as a technology of the distant future, artificial intelligence was a project consigned to the fringes of the scientific community. Then two researchers changed everything. One was a sixty-four-year-old computer science professor who didn’t drive and didn’t fly because he could no longer sit down—but still made his way across North America for the moment that would define a new age of technology. The other was a thirty-six-year-old neuroscientist and chess prodigy who laid claim to being the greatest game player of all time before vowing to build a machine that could do anything the human brain could do.
They took two very different paths to that lofty goal, and they disagreed on how quickly it would arrive. But both were soon drawn into the heart of the tech industry. Their ideas drove a new kind of arms race, spanning Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and OpenAI, a new lab founded by Silicon Valley kingpin Elon Musk. But some believed that China would beat them all to the finish line.
Genius Makers dramatically presents the fierce conflict among national interests, shareholder value, the pursuit of scientific knowledge, and the very human concerns about privacy, security, bias, and prejudice. Like a great Victorian novel, this world of eccentric, brilliant, often unimaginably yet suddenly wealthy characters draws you into the most profound moral questions we can ask. And like a great mystery, it presents the story and facts that lead to a core, vital question:
How far will we let it go?

About the Author

Cade Metz is a technology correspondent with The New York Times, covering artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, virtual reality, and other emerging areas. Previously, he was a senior staff writer with Wired magazine. He works in The New York Times’ San Francisco bureau and lives across the bay with his wife, Taylor, and two daughters.

Praise For…

"Unlike many of the books written about AI, you don’t need a science or engineering degree to learn from and enjoy this one. Anyone with an enthusiastic curiosity about science, technology and the future of human culture will find this clear-eyed, snappily written book both entertaining and valuable. You could even call it essential for any policymakers, politicians, police, lawyers, judges and decision-makers who will be contending with the social forces unleashed by artificial intelligence. Which, soon, will mean all of them."
—The Los Angeles Times

"[An] engaging new book... [Metz’s] straightforward writing perfectly translates industry jargon for technologically un-savvy readers (like me) who might be unfamiliar with what it means for a machine to engage in 'deep learning' or master tasks through its own experiences."
—Christian Science Monitor

"Carving a narrative out of a complex and ever-changing cast of characters... The book is filled with enlightening anecdotes that add texture and drama to the story. Genius Makers opens with Geoffrey Hinton, the Brit turned Canadian who is widely recognized as having played the most critical role in developing deep learning, the branch of AI that is changing the world today."
—Washington Post

"A ringside seat at what may turn out to be the pivotal episode in human history... Metz has a breezy style that is easy and fun to read... undeniably charming."

"Colorful and readable... draws on extensive access and meticulous research."
Financial Times

"Valuably suggests a framework for the right questions to ask now about AI and its use. Genius Makers is about the people who have built the AI world."
—James Fallows, The New York Times Book Review

"The first book to chronicle the rise of savant-like artificial intelligence (AI), and the last we’ll ever need… A ripping good read."
—William Softky, Fair Observer

"An informative, enjoyable work… With vivid detail, Metz has crafted an accessible narrative that will keep readers turning the pages."
Library Journal (starred review)

"A must-read, fully-up-to-date report on the holy grail of computing."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"With well-crafted storytelling and extensive research, Metz captures the thrill and promise of technological innovation."

"Written by an expert who has exclusive access to each of these companies—and others who are working in this field—this is a rich, character-driven narrative that captures an extraordinary moment in the history of technology."
Irish Tech News

"In Genius Makers, Cade Metz delivers the definitive take on how AI technology came to be and what its arrival will mean for us humans. The book relies on tireless reporting and delightful writing to bring to life one of the most surprising and important stories of our time. If you want to read one book to understand AI, this is the one."
—Ashlee Vance, New York Times bestselling author of Elon Musk

"This colorful page-turner puts artificial intelligence into a human perspective. Through the lives of Geoff Hinton and other major players, Metz explains this transformative technology and makes the quest thrilling."
Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, and The Innovators

"Cade Metz has produced an enthralling narrative of the advance of artificial intelligence. He describes the key personalities, the seminal meetings and the crucial breakthroughs with his customary eye for detail, building them into a dramatic history of this era-defining technology."
—Kai-Fu Lee, author of AI Superpowers

"This is the inside story of how AI entered Google, Facebook, and the rest of high tech.  It is also the story of how Silicon Valley and its megabucks infiltrated AI and changed its course. Chock full of behind-the-scenes anecdotes and wry humor—we learn the true tale of the technology that is transforming humanity."
—Oren Etzioni, chief executive, Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

"One day soon, when computers are safely driving our roads and speaking to us in complete sentences, we'll look back at Cade Metz's elegant, sweeping Genius Makers as their birth story—the Genesis for an age of sentient machines."
—Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store and The Upstarts
"Genius Makers is an enthralling, definitive modern history of artificial intelligence. Cade Metz's detailed narrative reveals the crucial decisions made by executives, developers and investors—and foreshadows the disproportionately large effect they will have on our futures."
Amy Webb, author of The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity
Product Details
ISBN: 9781524742676
ISBN-10: 1524742678
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: March 16th, 2021
Pages: 384
Language: English