The Fourth Age: Austin Understands AI

The Forrest Four-Cast: May 15, 2018

For an outstanding overview of some of the most intriguing ideas about the potential benefits and dangers in this quickly-growing industry (from both a scientific and pop culture perspective), read Tad Friend’s essay “How Afraid Should We Be of A.I.?” in the May 14 issue of the New Yorker.

Amongst the many thought leaders quoted in this overview is Amir Husain, the Founder and CEO of the Austin-based artificial intelligence firm SparkCognition. The author of the book “The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence” as well as the driving force behind the December 13–14 conference known as Time Machine 2017, he arrives in this New Yorker piece because of his belief that only an AI-enhanced system can prevent humans from intentionally and maliciously misusing this increasing powerful technology. According to Husain, “The ‘choice’ [on how to regulate AI] is really no choice at all: we must fight AI with AI.”

For a slightly different take on this fast-evolving industry, read “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity.” This recently-released book was penned by Austin’s Byron Reese, who is now the publisher of Gigaom (plus the founder of the September 2017 Gigaom Change Conference). “The Fourth Age” focuses on deconstructing the beliefs that undergird the many different views on robots, jobs, AI, consciousness, and life. Says Reese: “My goal is to be your guide through these thorny issues, dissecting all of the assumptions that form the opinions that these experts so passionately and confidently avow.”

Or learn more about current AI thinking by watching the “Democratizing AI For Individuals and Organizations” video from SXSW 2018. This video features three outstanding female experts in this space — Joanne Chen (Foundation Capital), Dr. Fei-Fei Li (Google) and Megan Smith (shift7).

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.