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  • Published: 1 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241333907
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $22.99

The Road to Conscious Machines

The Story of AI




In this myth-busting guide to AI past and present, one of the world's leading researchers shows why our fears for the future are misplaced

The ultimate dream of AI is to build machines that are conscious and self-aware. While this remains a remote possibility, rapid progress in AI is transforming our world. Yet the public debate is still largely centred on unlikely prospects, from sentient machines to dystopian robot takeovers.

Michael Wooldridge challenges the prevailing narrative, revealing how the hype distracts us from both the more immediate risks that this technology poses - from algorithmic bias to fake news - and the true life-changing potential of the field. The Road to Conscious Machines elucidates the discoveries of AI's greatest pioneers from Alan Turing to Demis Hassabis, and shows us what today's researchers actually think and do.

  • Published: 1 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241333907
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $22.99

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Praise for The Road to Conscious Machines

Takes us expertly by the hand through the labyrinth of Artificial Intelligence. A penetrating and lucid contribution to our digital understanding, which dispels many of the myths surrounding AI. Authoritative but accessible and highly readable.

Lord Clement-Jones CBE, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence 2017-2018

Calm, informative and refreshingly free of hype, Wooldridge's effortlessly readable book is the perfect guide to the history and future of AI.

Tom Chivers, science writer and author of 'The AI Does Not Hate You'

A terrific book - essential reading for everyone seeking to make sense of Artificial Intelligence. Wooldridge provides a clear-sighted and entertaining account of both the technical development of AI and the social and ethical issues arising from its increasing deployment.

Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Director and Chief Executive of The Alan Turing Institute

In the long and often frustrating quest for artificial intelligence, something spectacular has happened in the past decade. Nobody understands the past, the present, the promise and the peril of this new technology better than Michael Wooldridge. He has written the definitive account of the new AI.

Lord Matt Ridley, author of 'The Rational Optimist' and 'The Evolution of Everything'

In an age when AI is promoted as either the greatest threat or best hope for humanity, Wooldridge gives us a text that is accessible and authoritative. A balanced and informed view of the decades-long history of AI, its methods and techniques, achievements and shortfalls.

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Professorial Research Fellow in Computer Science and Principal of Jesus College, Oxford

The buzz around AI has unearthed many questions and in The Road to Conscious Machines you get answers.

Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX and Chair of the UK Government's AI Council

In this diligent and reassuring explanation of the immense difficulty of recreating intelligence in a machine, Michael Wooldridge succeeds not only in writing an engaging history of AI, but in telling us about the fabulously complicated structures on which our own consciousness rests

Will Dunn, New Statesman

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