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The Rationalist's Guide to the Galaxy

On sale

7th January 2021

Price: £9.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474608794
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‘A fascinating and delightfully written book about some very smart people who may not, or may, be about to transform humanity forever’ JON RONSON

‘Beautifully written, and with wonderful humour, this is a thrilling adventure story of our own future’ LEWIS DARTNELL, author of THE KNOWLEDGE and ORIGINS

Are paperclips going to destroy life as we know it?

What can Mickey Mouse teach us about how to programme AI?
Could a more rational approach to life be what saves us all?

This is a book about about a community of people who are trying to think rationally about intelligence and what insight they can and can’t give us about the future of the human race. It explains why these people are worried about an AI apocalypse, why they might be right, and why they might be wrong. It is a book about the cutting edge of our thinking on intelligence and rationality right now by the people who stay up all night worrying about it.

Reviews

THE BIG ISSUE
Excellent
THE TIMES
An intellectual history of our times
TLS
In this informative account of his encounters with the Rationalists . . . Tom Chivers follows a formula pioneered by those chronicling Silicon Valley for Wired magazine in the 1990s. He writes movingly about his insecurities over what the future will bring, telling the head of CFAR, "I'm scared for my children" . . . It is a resonant moment'
HANNAH FRY, author of HELLO WORLD
Tom Chivers' meticulously researched book is intriguing, persuasive and eye-opening. His writing is warm and witty as he takes us on a surprisingly moving journey to decide - rationally - whether we really are playing Russian roulette with our future
DR HELEN CZERSKI, author of THE STORM IN A TEACUP
This book is about so much more than AI. It's about what happens when an attempt at perfectly rational behaviour meets the messy complications of humanity and its achievements. In an increasingly digitised world, the outcome has something to say about us all. The brilliance of this book is the challenge it presents, because we can't examine the Rationalists without also examining ourselves. Tom Chivers is a fascinating and honest guide along that bumpy road
Jon Ronson
A fascinating and delightfully written book about some very smart people who may not, or may, be about to transform humanity forever
LEWIS DARTNELL, author of THE KNOWLEDGE and ORIGINS
Artificial Intelligence, of a superhuman level, is coming. But how soon will it emerge, and how will it impact our world? Will it offer us salvation or bring apocalypse? In this utterly captivating book, Tom Chivers meets both the computer engineers working to build an AI and the Rationalists striving to prevent the worst. Beautifully written, and with wonderful humour, this is a thrilling adventure story of our own future
RAIA HADSELL, Research Director, DeepMind
Brilliant
IAN DUNT, editor of politics.co.uk and author of BREXIT: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENS NOW?
Tom Chivers' book is like a self-help guide to stop panicking about technology for people who watched Terminator too many times when they were young. The content is completely gripping. But I think the thing I like best is the tone. He has this OK-lets-all-chill-out-and-look-at-this-rationally approach which makes me feel, for whole minutes at a time, that maybe things are going to be OK and we won't all die in hellfire