Forecasting AI blog





Five books on artificial intelligence

Five books on artificial intelligence

By G. H.


April 9, 2020





Confinement obliges for many citizens in France and around the world, offers you reading with five books dealing with Artificial Intelligence.

Robots and menby Laurence Devillers

With Robots and men...published by Plon Publishers, Laurence, professor at Paris-Sorbonne, member CERNA-Allistene and researcher in AI at LIMSI-CNRS, proposes an exciting journey in the world of robotics. And to make us reflect on our vision of robots as human beings. Since the study of our founding myths, Man has always imagined, or almost always, facing androids resembling his image. Robots with two arms, two legs and intellectual capacities close to his own, able to perform multiple tasks that are usually unique to human beings. Humanoid machines, therefore, which can be found in many works of science fiction, whether in literature, books or comic strips, or in films. Some enjoy a positive and beneficial image of mankind, like Wall-E. Others are sometimes destructive and do not hesitate to attack the human species like Terminator for example. With this book, Laurence Devillers questions this somewhat singular and watered-down vision of robots in relation to the current state of the art and the state of our knowledge, to the point of calling into question our vision of intelligence. Robots that do not necessarily have a humanoid appearance, capable only of carrying out, almost perfectly of course, a single task. Chatbots, nowadays present in many activities such as after-sales services, are a striking example of this. Chatbots that can answer user problems but certainly not able, for example, to beat a world chess champion like Deep Blue, also specialized in a particular field, was able to do so against Kasparov. A book that has therefore the power, not only to revise our judgment on robotics, but also to deliver another analysis on artificial intelligence.

Robots and Men, Myths, Fantasies and Reality, the cover of Laurence Devillers' book...
The Myth of Singularityby Jean Gabriel Ganascia

Present at the AI Forum organized on January 24, 2018 at the Maison de la Radio, Jean-Gabriel Ganascia, a voluble man, is a professor at the Pierre and Marie Curie University and an expert in artificial intelligence. With The Myth of Singularitypublished by Seuil, the French researcher tackles head-on the technological singularity, a conceptual idea that comes from a science fiction essay by Vernor Steffen Vinge, incidentally a former mathematics and computer science teacher who is now retired. A concept that has nevertheless been emulated by transhumanists in particular and which consists in believing that artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence in the more or less near future. With this book, Jean-Gabriel Ganascia thus largely calls into question this theory which has nevertheless made converts like Ray Kurzweil, American inventor, South African-born Elon Musk, or even Stephen Hawkinga brilliant astrophysicist who sadly passed away in March 2018. The first already imagined man-machines superior to the human species, while the last two feared that machines would one day pose an existential risk to humanity. The Myth of Singularity is therefore a successful critical and synthetic essay on a vision of artificial intelligence still widely present today. It gives us a much more precise idea of a fact that is still not proven today.

The book Le mythe de la Singularité, faut-il faut-il craindre l'Intelligence Artificielle by Jean-Gabriel Ganascia.

From algorithms to disruption...

The age of algorithms by Gilles Dowek and Serge Abiteboul

Published by Le Pommier, Algorithm time finally returns to the source of artificial intelligence: algorithms! In this book, Gilles Dowek, Researcher at Inria, Professor at the Ecole normale supérieure de Paris Saclay, and Serge Abiteboul, Researcher at Inria and at the Ecole normale supérieure de Paris, aim to popularize, or almost, a phenomenon that has entered our daily lives for several years now. At the time of his two-handed writing, in 2017, 52% of French people did not know exactly what it was all about. Today, knowledge has undoubtedly become much more widespread, but it is never bad to get back to the basics. The co-authors of this book have therefore taken the side of pedagogy to clarify certain sensitive points about a tool, if we can talk about it this way, present in different fields of AI study. Machine learning or deep learning, to name but a few, particularly appreciate them. With simple words and examples from everyday life, they allow the greatest number of people to better understand them. Reading them, the recipe for bread would be one of them, allowing to solve a problem without inventing a new solution each time. The same goes for algorithms to simply add or subtract, for example. The oldest algorithms, found in Mesopotamia, would thus be more than 5,000 years old! Transpose this to their use in computer science and you will not be far from understanding the essence of it.

Cover of Le temps des algorithmes written by Serge Abiteboul and Gilles Dowek.
Disruption - Artificial intelligence, end of wage-earning, increased humanityby Stéphane Mallard

This is a buzzword that Stéphane Mallard, the author of the book Disruption - Artificial intelligence, end of wage-earning, increased humanity...took hold early on and made them their main focus. In full confinement, you may not realize it now, yet a large majority of people live or suffer it. Disruption is ultimately a break from an established market and can affect all sectors and activities. Telework, which within days has become a worldwide phenomenon when the majority of people used to travel to the workplace, is a perfect example. Made possible by the evolution of technology in particular, telework is a real evolution. The delivery of goods or products to the home, the reservation of uber rather than taxis, self-employment rather than salaried employment are all others that have taken on a real dimension for several years now. Finally, the author explains in this book how everything is disruptable thanks to connected objects, blockchains, chatbots and, consequently, more generally thanks to Artificial Intelligence. This book is perhaps the first step to stay up to date, understand the mechanics of disruption and manage to live with the times!

Artificial intelligence, a war, a threat?

The war of the intelligencesby Laurent Alexandre     

A man with many hats, sometimes praised or criticized for his stance, Laurent Alexandre has published The war of the intelligences to the JC Lattès editions in 2017. This surgeon-urologist, an entrepreneur (he founded the site Doctissimo), a French writer and essayist talks here about intelligences, whether human and biological or artificial. Laurent Alexandre is almost worried about the rise of artificial intelligence in the face of human intelligence, which previously mastered the former. Human or biological intelligence programmed AI algorithms until 2010. But that was before then. Before machine learning or deep learning nowadays, where human beings don't really have to program anything anymore, but rather simply to educate them or even to give them ways to progress. A phase in which artificial intelligence is capable of carrying out to perfection or almost perfection certain tasks that were previously the responsibility of human intelligence. In 2030, artificial intelligence, according to the essayist, will be interdisciplinary and capable of carrying out several tasks simultaneously until, in a fourth and final phase, it becomes strong, that is to say, to become aware of itself, like a human being in the end. Futuristic and perhaps false vision, it does not prevent that The war of the intelligences also offers the reader several ways to stop this progression and keep the human being at the top of the pyramid. Far-fetched or not, this book, which has been a great success, remains a reference book in the field of artificial intelligence. And an ideal book to perfect one's critical mind on AI.

A must-have bonus

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Futureby Martin Ford

It's a classic, if not a major work in the field of artificial intelligence. Work of the American Martin FordThe book has of course been translated into French since its publication in 2015, Rise of the Robots relates the impact of the growth of artificial intelligence on the labour market. According to the author, AI is going to cause a huge social and economic upheaval to the point of causing a wave of layoffs and job losses in various sectors of activity. A thesis that will not spare either the higher categories or people with skilled work. A real job loss because AI, unlike previous technological revolutions such as the industrial revolution, will not generate new jobs. You will have understood it, a pessimistic vision of the advent of robots in our current society.

The cover of Martin Ford's Rise of the Robots.