The Big Nine Book Summary By Amy Webb

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The Big Nine (2019) is a thorough and thoughtful book that looks into the history, current state and future projections of artificial intelligence.

It takes readers through AI's astonishing trajectory from its early days to modern-day developments, highlighting all the key players making it possible.

The book then dives into the present, assessing all of AI's potential impacts on humanity and mapping out a few intriguing ideas for how to effectively steer clear of any potentially disastrous scenarios.

Throughout this engaging exploration of AI, readers are invited to consider where this remarkable technology will take us next, and what steps can be taken today to make sure that our future with it is bright.

The Big Nine Book

Book Name: The Big Nine (How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity)

Author(s): Amy Webb

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 24 Minutes

Categories: Technology & the Future

Author Bio

The Big Nine is a fascinating book about strategic forecasting and emerging technologies, written by the highly acclaimed professor of strategic foresight Amy Webb.

She is a professor of strategic foresight at New York University’s Stern School of Business and the founder of the Future Today Institute, an organization that works to study technology-driven trends and their impact on humanity's future.

In her Washington Post best-seller, The Signals Are Talking: Why Today's Fringe Is Tomorrow's Mainstream, she outlines her team's method for predicting what the future will bring based on data analysis.

Explore The Present State Of Artificial Intelligence And Discover Its Potential Impact On The Future

Artificial Intelligence

In “The Big Nine” book summary, readers learn about the disturbing direction in which AI is currently heading and how to make sure that humanity can change course before it’s too late.

They get to see just how advanced artificial intelligence already is and some of the most cutting-edge examples.

They also get to meet some of the key players – the “big nine” corporations of the tech industry – and explore their motivations on taking AI into certain directions.

The book touches upon many pressing topics such as what visions are currently shaping the field of AI and whether any of those dark sci-fi scenarios will come true.

It provides an insightful look at what could potentially happen and offers ways for humanity to take control before it’s too late.

If you’re interested in learning more about AI, this is a great resource to start with.

How Deep Neural Networks Enabled Ai To Conquer One Of The World’s Most Complex Games: Go

The development of deep neural networks has revolutionized Artificial Intelligence (AI).

By harnessing the power of these deep learning systems, AI has made incredible progress over the past two decades.

These networks—that are somewhat similar to how humans think—are composed of thousands of interconnected “neurons” arranged into layers that help machines learn by themselves with little or no help from us.

This technology was most famously demonstrated when AlphaGo—a DNN-powered program created by Google-acquired DeepMind—defeated professional human Go players including the world champion in 2014.

That marked a huge milestone for AI and went on to prove even more difficult task can be achieved through deep learning.

DNNs have truly revolutionized AI, enabling it to tackle complex tasks far beyond what was originally thought possible for machines.

With this newfound power, we can expect many new innovations and applications in the years ahead.

Alphago Zero: Ai’s Superhuman Intelligence And Its Far-Reaching Implications

Advances in artificial intelligence have already begun to show superhuman levels of intelligence.

This was evident with the success of Google’s AlphaGo program, which debuted in 2014 and left the world stunned.

However, AlphaGo’s successor, AlphaGo Zero, has truly eclipsed its predecessor.

It shocked the world by just starting from scratch- without any knowledge of the rules or even a library of previously played games – and still managing to beat AlphaGo after just 40 days!

This is due to its use of deep neural networks (DNNs), which allow it to “teach” itself basic judgment and strategies that eventually help it surpass the capabilities of humans.

The advantage is witnessed in Go where the skill level of players can be measured using an Elo rating system.

World champions typically have ratings around 3,500 whereas AlphaGo Zero scored more than 5,000 on its own!

This clearly demonstrates how AI is already able to achieve superhuman intelligence in ways that are different and better than our own.

We Have A Small Window Of Time To Shape Humanity’s Ai-Filled Future


Modern AI is already capable of incredible feats and its power is almost limitless.

Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) can do one specific task very well, such as playing Go or recognizing voice patterns.

Companies are now looking to apply these same principles to a wide range of domains, from cell phones to medical research labs.

In the coming years, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) will become commonplace.

AGI will be able to tackle any task while ASI will outperform human intelligence exponentially.

These two forms of AI could arrive by 2040s and 2070s respectively.

Therefore it is safe to say that the range and power of AI will increase exponentially over the course of the next 50 years.

We now have a limited window of time left in which we must shape how our future with AI will look like.

The Us And China Are Racing For Superhuman Ai — Here’S What Their Different Visions Look Like

We are living in a critical moment in history where the power of AI and the potential risks it could present to humanity will be determined by the choices made within the next few decades.

By the 2040s, AI systems will have developed advanced forms of Artificial Superintelligence (ASI) that may have reached a point beyond our control.

It is therefore imperative that action is taken now to ensure that these advanced AI systems develop responsibly, with human and environmental welfare at their core.

Fortunately, we can take a look at who currently has their hands firmly on the wheel when it comes to developing this increasingly powerful technology: the “big nine” tech corporations from both the US and China, along with their respective governments.

These groups comprise six US-based companies (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Apple) plus three based in China (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent).

Symbolically speaking, these two countries represent two global superpowers: The United States as an established superpower of the twentieth century, and China as an emerging superpower of this century.

It is expected then that they will continue challenging each other for international power while also trying to impose their own visions of “societal governance.”

As such, we find ourselves standing in front of a window that’s rapidly closing – a brief period in which decisions involving AI research and development will dictate how ASI evolves over time.

By being mindful of what’s at stake in this important period across both sides of “The Big Nine,” we can actively help protect ourselves from dangerous future outcomes – before it’s too late!

The Political And Economic Systems Of The Us And China Are Driving Ai’S Unsafe, Unregulated Development

In the United States, technology research and development (R&D) is largely focused on consumerism, profit-making and short-term thinking.

This is because private industry drives the majority of R&D in the US and they are primarily motivated by monetary gain, meaning that they are more likely to place a priority on making products quickly and cheaply rather than taking the time to consider potential problems that could arise from their products.

As a result of this myopic approach toward innovation, many issues have arisen over the years – such as user privacy violations.

This focus on consumerism and profits has diminished America’s ability to focus on lofty goals such as curing cancer or eliminating poverty through technological advancements.

The American tech industry’s relentless pursuit of money also means there is little incentive for ethical considerations when making decisions about which projects to pursue.

In short, a free-market capitalist system in the United States puts an emphasis on short-term gains at the expense of long-term social benefit – resulting in a potentially dangerous approach to AI research and development.

How China’s government-Backed And Protected Ai Sector Could Challenge The United States For Global Domination

Ai Sector

China’s tech industry is a strongly government-led effort that prioritizes AI development as a tool for both population control and global domination.

The Chinese government explicitly set a goal of becoming the world’s leading AI innovation center by 2030, and has already started making strides in that direction.

It has invested billions in an AI research park in Beijing, with compulsory AI classes available at 40 high schools as of 2018.

The social credit score system is one example of how the Chinese government aims to use its powerful tech infrastructure to exercise control over its citizens by ranking their trustworthiness with points added or deducted from an individual score depending on how they conform to certain rules.

What’s more, China also wants to use its fast-growing technological capabilities to outcompete the United States on the global stage, increasing their economic clout through furthering their AI sector which some estimates believe could expand China’s economy by 28 percent in 2035.

The Future Of Ai: From Glitches To Hacking And Even Weaponization

The current course of AI development could lead humanity to a tremendous disaster.

If research and development continues without proper safeguards, the impact that sophisticated AI-powered technology would have on society could be immense.

By tying us to nearly every facet of our lives – from food shopping to healthcare – we would become increasingly reliant upon AI and its applications.

In the healthcare system, for example, AI could inject microscopic robots called nanobots directly into people’s bodies to detect and heal illnesses.

But this dependence on AI brings risks.

In their rushed production of new tech products and services, companies might make systems that are prone to glitches – which can cause serious disruption in both transportation networks and healthcare systems.

On top of these problems with just malfunctions in the gadgets, there is also a menacing risk of military hacking if countries linked together their devices through a single operating system – something which might enable China or any other nation with malicious intentions to launch devastating attacks upon the US and its allies.

Furthermore, nanobots injected into people’s bodies could even get hacked and used against their hosts – with potentially catastrophic consequences for entire populations in a world where resources are scarcer than ever before.

The current course of AI development presents real dangers for humanity unless major efforts are taken now to secure these technologies against potential misuse in the future.

How An International Alliance Can Help Us Reap The Benefits Of Ai While Mitigating Its Risks


The potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide us with tremendous benefits is there, but the concurrent risk of danger cannot be avoided without proper policy and international cooperation.

To ensure a safe and prosperous future for AI technology, both of these elements must be present.

In the United States in particular, it is essential that major tech companies have access to reoriented AI research and development guided by humanistic values, instead of pursuing corporate profits over the best interests of humanity.

Safely testing products before they are released to the market to check for any unintended negative consequences will become paramount when deciding on such policies.

These efforts may not be enough if unchecked market forces remain in play.

In this case, governments will need to take a more active role by introducing firm regulations as well as investing heavily in resources for AI research and development.

That way, tech firms won’t feel pressured into rushing products out or maximizing their gains quickly – allowing them to pursue more ethical endeavors at their own pace.

But due to globalization and global competition between rivaling powers like China, relying solely on U.S.-based government intervention would be insufficient in shaping the future of AI safely and effectively.

This is why a Global Alliance of Intelligence Augmentation (GAIA) is necessary: an international body consisting of knowledgeable leaders from allied countries like the EU, Japan and Canada contribute towards forming effective global policy about AI technology values-oriented initiative..

By building upon each other’s developments, countries could form a unified stance under GAIA that would set up standards which all participating nations must adhere to – meaning even those apart from the alliance such as China could benefit from the alliance’s advances while contributing something back themselves if they choose to join later down the line.

In order for humanity reap all possible benefits stemming from AI while avoiding its dangers altogether – policies must be created and formulated with help from international cooperation as much as possible – something only achievable if leading tech companies reassess their priorities under increased governmental guidance backed up by allied efforts promoted through GAIA’s standard during this technological revolution.

Wrap Up

The Big Nine by Andy Greenberg is a book that emphasizes the need for decisive action against the top nine major American and Chinese tech companies leading the way in Artificial Intelligence.

It’s a warning that these tech giants have immense power and must be watched closely in order to ensure their direction does not become a disaster for humanity.

The overall message of this book can be summed up in one sentence: We must act now if we want to save humanity from the potential dangers caused by AI-tech giants playing God.

Without taking decisive action, it will be too late.

So don’t wait – take action now!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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