In This Review

The Age of AI and Our Human Future
The Age of AI and Our Human Future
By Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher
Little, Brown, 2021, 272 pp

Three leading public thinkers deliver a bracing introduction to the promise and peril of artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning has already begun to change human society, for good and ill. Computers that can perform tasks that require human-level intelligence are finding their way into more and more spheres of life, including medicine, environmental protection, transportation, and defense. The authors argue that AI will have sweeping implications for militaries, altering doctrines and battle tactics and influencing the global balance of power. Equally important will be how dictators and other leaders use AI to shape the “information space” at home and abroad. The authors argue that AI’s most profound impact will be in the mysterious ways that machines gain access to aspects of reality that are beyond the understanding of humans, subtly altering our Enlightenment-era understanding of human reason, knowledge, and choice. In a world where machines are smarter than people, what does it actually mean to be human? The book asks more questions than it answers. But that is its point: to provoke a wide-ranging conversation about how societies can make AI a partner in—rather than an obstacle to—the pursuit of human betterment.