To be honest, we are a little worried when we think about artificial intelligence. To some, this sounds like a blessing for humanity, while to others, it predicts the downfall of the human species. In her book, Helga Nowotny addressed this topic in a way that is both scientific and generally understandable.
The subtitle of the book says it all: “Power, Illusion, and the Control of Algorithmic Prediction” not only sounds exciting, but everyone now knows that algorithms now shape our daily lives. ETH Emeritus Professor Nowotny shows in five understandable chapters exactly what the challenges of AI – that is, artificial intelligence – are. The digital world presents religious features and at the same time deeply philosophical approaches, starting with the question of understanding time. The book was originally published in English. In the foreword she talks about the “enchanted world of GTP-4” – an exclusive highlight for the German edition – and in the introduction she explains how she traveled to “Digi-land”. It is somewhat reminiscent of Dante’s Divine Comedy, from the purgatory of digital development to the hellish conditions of technology companies and entrepreneurs to the heavenly possibilities that new technologies bring, this adventure is both exciting and enlightening for the reader.
In the first chapter, you address the question of time and how the digital revolution challenges or sheds new light on the understanding of time. We continue in the mirror world and the third chapter deals with the story of progress and the search for public happiness. Therefore, the future needs wisdom, he says in the fourth chapter, then finally writes about disruptions, which cover the pre-pandemic period until self-domestication.
The title also shows the religious connection of artificial intelligence. It is therefore not surprising that the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has been intensively interested in this issue for some time. It is to be hoped that the members of this important Vatican institution will also have read and understood Nowotny’s book. Anyone who wants to understand what artificial intelligence really is will find it in Nowotny’s book.
To take notes: Helga Nowotny: AI be with you. Power, illusion and control of algorithmic prediction. Translated from English by Sabine Wolf. Published by Matthes & Setiz Berlin.
A review by Mario Galgano.
(Vatican news – mg)
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