Don’t make Electric Moons

In the late 1800s electricity was the technology de jure, ready to change the world. But no one was sure how.

City planners, enamored with the possibilities, were unsure how to get around the cost and complexity of stringing wires to every home. They came up with what they thought was an easier solution. Electric moons. A centralized source of illumination, ensuring the town always had light.

Great technology, bad application.

Knowing a technology exists, and properly applying to daily life, are two very different things. The same goes for artificial intelligence. You know it’s going to (and already is) change the world. But do you know anything about AI?

No matter your field, it’s worth understanding the basics of a new technology so you don’t try to make electric moons.

Understanding AI will calm your fears of it taking over the world. It will help illuminate the future being created around you. And it might spark a connection with an unrelated field that becomes a world changing product.

A few easy places to get started:

The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos  A very readable high level overview of machine learning. It goes into math at points but you don’t need to hold it in memory to get a lot of the book.

The free Stanford University Coursera machine learning course. This gets you into the weeds but is somewhat approachable.

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom – A somewhat dense and philosophical look at what AI means for the future of humanity.

What are your favorite AI resources? Comment below!