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The Alignment Problem


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About the Author

Brian Christian is the author of the acclaimed bestsellers The Most Human Human and Algorithms to Live By, which have been translated into nineteen languages. A visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, he lives in San Francisco.


"The disconnect between intention and results-between what mathematician Norbert Wiener described as "the purpose put into the machine" and "the purpose we really desire"-defines the essence of "the alignment problem." Brian Christian, an accomplished technology writer, offers a nuanced and captivating exploration of this white-hot topic, giving us along the way a survey of the state of machine learning and of the challenges it faces." -- David A. Shaywitz - Wall Street Journal
"A fascinating, provocative, and insightful tour of all the ways that AI goes wrong and all the ways people are trying to fix it. Essential reading if you want to understand where our world is heading." -- Stuart Russell, professor of computer science, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Human Compatible
"A new field has emerged that responds to and scrutinizes the vast technological shifts represented by our modern, virtual, algorithmically defined world. In The Alignment Problem, Brian Christian masterfully surveys the 'AI fairness' community, introducing us to some of its main characters; some of its historical roots in science, philosophy, and activism; and crucially, many of its philosophical quandaries and limitations." -- Cathy O'Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction
"This is the book on artificial intelligence we need right now. Brian Christian takes us on a technically fluent (yet widely accessible) journey through the most important questions facing AI and humanity. It is thought-provoking and vital reading for anyone interested in our future." -- Mike Krieger, cofounder of Instagram
"An abundantly researched and captivating book that explores the road humanity has taken to create a successor for itself-a road that's rich with surprising discoveries, unexpected obstacles, ingenious solutions and, increasingly, hard questions about the soul of our species." -- Jaan Tallinn, cofounder of Skype and the Future of Life Institute
"The Alignment Problem should be required reading for anyone influencing policy where algorithms are in play-which is everywhere. But unlike much required reading, the book is a delight to read, a playful romp through personalities and relatable snippets of science history that put the choices of our present moment into context." -- Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America and former deputy CTO of the United States
"A deeply enjoyable and meticulously researched account of how computer scientists and philosophers are defining the biggest question of our time: how will we create intelligent machines that will improve our lives rather than complicate or even destroy them? There's no better book than The Alignment Problem at spelling out the issues of governing AI safely." -- James Barrat, best-selling author of Our Final Invention
"Brian Christian is a fine writer and has produced a fascinating book. AI seems destined to become, for good or ill, increasingly prominent in our lives. We should be grateful for this balanced and hype-free perspective on its scope and limits." -- Martin Rees, emeritus professor of cosmology and astrophysics, University of Cambridge
"An intriguing exploration of AI, which is advancing faster than-well, than we are." -- Kirkus Reviews

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