New York Times Silicon Valley beat reporter Cade Metz brings readers into the rooms where an extraordinarily powerful new artificial intelligence has been built into our biggest companies, our social discourse, and our daily lives, with few of us even noticing.
Books on artificial intelligence fall into two broad categories: the explanatory and the exclamatory ... But few take the time to introduce us to the surprisingly small group of colorful characters who created this transformational field. This is what Cade Metz’s Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World sets out to do ... Readers will come away with a clear understanding of how we got to where we are today ... People are left out, and contributions are overlooked. But this will bother only those who know the broad outlines of the story already. For everyone else, Genius Makers puts meat on the bones of AI and illuminates many of the most important faces. For those who know the names, the book is filled with enlightening anecdotes that add texture and drama to the story ... Metz foreshadows the growing and potentially dangerous power of AI to fool human perception. But Genius Makers does an admirable job of staying out of the algorithmic weeds or drifting into hyperbole, the twin sins of most books on AI. Metz tells a story that touches all of our lives today. While there will be many people who will feel left out the book’s strength is in its portrayals of the personalities behind the science and of the serendipity of scientific discovery.
... part of a rapidly growing literature attempting to make sense of the A.I. hurricane we are living through. These are very different kinds of books — Cade Metz’s is mainly reportorial, about how we got here ... about the people who have built the A.I. world — scientists, engineers, linguists, gamers — more than about the technology itself, or its good and bad effects. The fundamental technical debates and discoveries on which A.I. is based are a background to the individual profiles and corporate-drama scenes Metz presents.
... colourful and readable ... Metz’s book draws on extensive access and meticulous research. Over the course of eight years, he interviewed more than 400 people. Yet, though discussed, some of the most contentious issues are hardly explored to the depth they deserve ... Metz does not fully spell out the consequences of [the] 'sea of dudes' problem ... Nor does he sufficiently interrogate the top researchers about the limitations and voracious energy consumption of their models. Their stated ambition of achieving artificial general intelligence (when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence across every domain) that scares the wits out of many observers is also largely unchallenged. Genius Makers is a good read, as far as it goes, but the reader is left with the wish that Metz had displayed deeper learning.