Solomon's Code: Humanity in a World of Thinking Machines (Hardcover)
A thought-provoking examination of artificial intelligence and how it reshapes human values, trust, and power around the world.
Whether in medicine, money, or love, technologies powered by forms of artificial intelligence are playing an increasingly prominent role in our lives. As we cede more decisions to thinking machines, we face new questions about staying safe, keeping a job and having a say over the direction of our lives. The answers to those questions might depend on your race, gender, age, behavior, or nationality.
New AI technologies can drive cars, treat damaged brains and nudge workers to be more productive, but they also can threaten, manipulate, and alienate us from others. They can pit nation against nation, but they also can help the global community tackle some of its greatest challenges—from food crises to global climate change.
In clear and accessible prose, global trends and strategy adviser Olaf Groth, AI scientist and social entrepreneur Mark Nitzberg, along with seasoned economics reporter Dan Zehr, provide a unique human-focused, global view of humanity in a world of thinking machines.
About the Author
Olaf Groth is a Professor and Program Director for Digital Futures at Hult International Business School. He is the founder and CEO of Emergent Frontiers Group and Cambrian AI, a member of the Global Expert Network at the World Economic Forum. Olaf has written for the Harvard Business Review, HBR France, Financial Times, and more.
Mark Nitzberg serves as Executive Director of the Center for Human Compatible Artificial Intelligence at University of California at Berkeley. Mark studied AI at M.I.T. and completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University. Most recently he was Director, Computer Vision Products at A9/Amazon.
Groth and Nitzberg discuss the future of artificial intelligence in numerous spheres—medicine, civil defense, education, and more—identifying potential moral quandaries in each. Their nuanced analysis explores not just how to ensure that ‘the machines will treat us fairly,’ but also that these machines’ human designers are ethically sound. Their positive outlook, free of the doomsday theorizing common elsewhere, makes for a refreshingly calm discussion of the future of AI.
Solomon's Code is a fascinating exploration of the myriad social and ethical considerations that we'll be faced with as we see the rise of AI. It provides a balanced perspective on the many critical issues AI presents, including new mind-boggling ones many have not even contemplated, as well as ways for us to guide the course of the transformation.
— Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO, Red Hat and author of 'The Open Organization'
This wide-ranging and user-friendly dispatch from the front lines of AI can be devoured in one sitting to catch up on the latest research and startup companies including innovations from Nigeria, Israel, Russia, China, and Canada. Even those who follow the news closely will discover fresh insights into China's emerging social credit system, prediction markets, adaptive learning, chatbots designed for suicidal patients, and a riveting personal story about a life-or-death decision that challenges the state-of-the-art in AI. Groth and Nitzberg, appropriately skeptical of singularity sensationalism, emphasize instead the positive potential for what they call 'Symbiotic Intelligence' and make a compelling case for a new 'Magna Carta' to guide our collectively intelligent future.
— Ken Goldberg, Professor of Robotics & New Media and Director of the Laboratory of Automation Science at University of California, Berkeley
In Solomon’s Code, Groth and Nitzberg paint an intriguing picture of our collective technological prospects, demystifying complex concepts surrounding AI to provide an insight into its far-reaching and ever-changing consequences. This is essential reading for a future just around the corner.
— Shashi Tharoor, former Under Secretary General of the UN, Minister of Human Resources and now Member of Parliament in India
Some of the most prescient foresight on human progress flows from an understanding of emergent forces in our world. By illustrating how deeply AI has already entered our lives, Groth and Nitzberg construct an insightful roadmap for cognitive technologies and their impact on us humans over the next fifteen years. Solomon’s Code is a valuable North Star for anybody interested in society's evolution and how to harness our imagination in the face of AI.
— Beth Comstock, author of IMAGINE IT FORWARD and former Vice Chair of GE
Groth and Nitzberg reach beyond bytes and algorithms to the deeper questions of what new AI technologies mean in fundamentally human terms. They make clear the choices that lie ahead—and the fact that those choices belong not to our machines but to us.
— Arati Prabhakar, Fellow at Stanford University, former Director of DARPA, Director of NIST, CTO of Raychem and Managing Director at US Venture Partners
Don't put this book down. In the intensifying race for tech supremacy, a geopolitical contest that will foreordain centers of prosperity and opportunity for the foreseeable future, AI will be center stage. By breaking down the fundamentals, and by imagining where the AI phenomenon might take us, Groth and Nitzberg do us all a great service. Now it's up to us to respond—and prepare—appropriately.
— Erik Peterson, Managing Director, A.T. Kearney Global Business Policy Council, former SVP at CSIS
The age of intelligence has begun. The world will come alive around us as we increasingly live in a society enlightened by technology. But it is the challenges of making that intelligent technology safe, reliable and in our control that is the heart of Solomon's Code. A must read for anyone driving and living in the age of smart machines.
— Peter Schwartz, SVP of Strategic Planning at Salesforce, former founding CEO of Global Business Network
As Hollywood generates fearful stories about AI-powered machines, Groth and Nitzberg counter with a hopeful, almost soulful antidote. Solomon’s Code lays out what everyone from homemakers to CEOs needs to know about how AI is changing lives across the world. Refusing to stoke fear, the authors argue for an ethical framework that preserves individual power as we merge the best of both human and machine.
— Evelyn N. Farkas, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at The Atlantic Council, NBC contributor, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
An elegant and accessible look at the power and promise of AI. Solomon’s Code is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of humanity’s most magnificent and fearsome creation.
— Brad Davis, CEO of Forensic Logic, formerly with Kissinger Associates
AI technologies can help solve some of our most complex challenges, but they can also lead toward under-considered solutions. Solomon's Code powerfully illustrates and dissects the remarkable potential of these cognitive systems and the accompanying risks of mismanaging complexity.
— Lord David Puttnam, award winning producer of “Chariots of Fire,” “Midnight Express” and “The Killing Fields”