How artificial intelligence works and how we can harness its power for a better world
A fun, timely, and optimistic treatment of the big ideas that every citizen of the 21st century should know if they want to understand how intelligent machines operating on massive data sets are changing the world around them, and how they can use this knowledge to make better decisions in their own lives.
Dozens of times per day, we all interact with intelligent machines that are constantly learning from the wealth of data now available to them. These machines, from smart phones to talking robots to self-driving cars, are remaking the world of the 21st century in the same way that the Industrial Revolution remade the world of the 19th century.
In the face of all these changes, we believe that there is a simple premise worth keeping in mind. If you want to understand the modern world, then you have to know a little bit of the mathematical language spoken by intelligent machines. Our book will teach you that language—but in an unconventional way, anchored around stories rather than mathematics.
You will meet a fascinating cast of historical characters who have a lot to teach you about data, probability, and better thinking. Along the way, you'll see how these same ideas are playing out in the modern age of big data and intelligent machines—and how these technologies will soon help you to overcome some of your built-in cognitive weaknesses, giving you a chance to lead a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life.
“There comes a time in the life of a subject when someone steps up and writes the book about it. AIQ explores the fascinating history of the ideas that drive this technology of the future and demystifies the core concepts behind it; the result is a positive and entertaining look at the great potential unlocked by marrying human creativity with powerful machines.”
Steven Levitt, bestselling co-author of Freakonomics
“At last, a book on the ideas behind AI and data science by people who really understand data. Cutting through the usual journalistic puff and myths, they clearly explain the underlying ideas behind the way that troughloads of data are being harnessed to build the algorithms that can carry out such extraordinary feats. But they are also clear about the limitations and potential risks of these algorithms, and the need for society to scrutinise and even regulate their use. A real page-turner, with fine stories and just enough detail: I learned a lot.”
David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, University of Cambridge
“Entertaining and persuasive. The book’s goal is to explain how artificial intelligence delivers its incredible results, and Polson and Scott are like a pair of excitable mechanics lifting up the bonnet of a sports car. This is a passionate book, and it is a model of how to make data science accessible and exciting.”
James McConnachie, The Sunday Times
“Nick Polson and James Scott take us under the hood of AI and data science, showing that behind most algorithms is the story of a person trying to solve a problem and make the world better. The result is an engaging, optimistic vision of an age in which computers have become a pervasive, influential presence in every aspect of life.”
Michael J. Casey, senior advisor at MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative, and co-author of The Truth Machine
“Grounding AI in tried-and-true methods makes it seem less alien: Computers are simply faster ways to solve familiar problems. Hence the book’s title, a portmanteau of AI and IQ—the point being that we need both.”
Sam Kean, Wall Street Journal
“Admirably clear and totally readable”
Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller
“In an entertaining primer, two academic data scientists put the case for the defence on artificial intelligence, and show how we can harness its power for a better world.”
“This book will help you sleep at night... The authors spin some winning tales. Who'd turn down being treated with a smart surgical knife?”
Julie Freeman, New Scientist