AI Snake Oil: What Artificial Intelligence Can Do, What It Can't, and How to Tell the Difference
From two of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in AI, what you need to know about AI—and how to defend yourself against bogus AI claims and products

Confused about AI and worried about what it means for your future and the future of the world? You’re not alone. AI is everywhere—and few things are surrounded by so much hype, misinformation, and misunderstanding. In AI Snake Oil, computer scientists Arvind Narayanan and Sayash Kapoor cut through the confusion to give you an essential understanding of how AI works and why it often doesn’t, where it might be useful or harmful, and when you should suspect that companies are using AI hype to sell AI snake oil—products that don’t work, and probably never will.

While acknowledging the potential of some AI, such as ChatGPT, AI Snake Oil uncovers rampant misleading claims about the capabilities of AI and describes the serious harms AI is already causing in how it’s being built, marketed, and used in areas such as education, medicine, hiring, banking, insurance, and criminal justice. The book explains the crucial differences between types of AI, why organizations are falling for AI snake oil, why AI can’t fix social media, why AI isn’t an existential risk, and why we should be far more worried about what people will do with AI than about anything AI will do on its own. The book also warns of the dangers of a world where AI continues to be controlled by largely unaccountable big tech companies.

By revealing AI’s limits and real risks, AI Snake Oil will help you make better decisions about whether and how to use AI at work and home.

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AI Snake Oil: What Artificial Intelligence Can Do, What It Can't, and How to Tell the Difference
From two of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in AI, what you need to know about AI—and how to defend yourself against bogus AI claims and products

Confused about AI and worried about what it means for your future and the future of the world? You’re not alone. AI is everywhere—and few things are surrounded by so much hype, misinformation, and misunderstanding. In AI Snake Oil, computer scientists Arvind Narayanan and Sayash Kapoor cut through the confusion to give you an essential understanding of how AI works and why it often doesn’t, where it might be useful or harmful, and when you should suspect that companies are using AI hype to sell AI snake oil—products that don’t work, and probably never will.

While acknowledging the potential of some AI, such as ChatGPT, AI Snake Oil uncovers rampant misleading claims about the capabilities of AI and describes the serious harms AI is already causing in how it’s being built, marketed, and used in areas such as education, medicine, hiring, banking, insurance, and criminal justice. The book explains the crucial differences between types of AI, why organizations are falling for AI snake oil, why AI can’t fix social media, why AI isn’t an existential risk, and why we should be far more worried about what people will do with AI than about anything AI will do on its own. The book also warns of the dangers of a world where AI continues to be controlled by largely unaccountable big tech companies.

By revealing AI’s limits and real risks, AI Snake Oil will help you make better decisions about whether and how to use AI at work and home.

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AI Snake Oil: What Artificial Intelligence Can Do, What It Can't, and How to Tell the Difference

AI Snake Oil: What Artificial Intelligence Can Do, What It Can't, and How to Tell the Difference

AI Snake Oil: What Artificial Intelligence Can Do, What It Can't, and How to Tell the Difference

AI Snake Oil: What Artificial Intelligence Can Do, What It Can't, and How to Tell the Difference

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Overview

From two of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in AI, what you need to know about AI—and how to defend yourself against bogus AI claims and products

Confused about AI and worried about what it means for your future and the future of the world? You’re not alone. AI is everywhere—and few things are surrounded by so much hype, misinformation, and misunderstanding. In AI Snake Oil, computer scientists Arvind Narayanan and Sayash Kapoor cut through the confusion to give you an essential understanding of how AI works and why it often doesn’t, where it might be useful or harmful, and when you should suspect that companies are using AI hype to sell AI snake oil—products that don’t work, and probably never will.

While acknowledging the potential of some AI, such as ChatGPT, AI Snake Oil uncovers rampant misleading claims about the capabilities of AI and describes the serious harms AI is already causing in how it’s being built, marketed, and used in areas such as education, medicine, hiring, banking, insurance, and criminal justice. The book explains the crucial differences between types of AI, why organizations are falling for AI snake oil, why AI can’t fix social media, why AI isn’t an existential risk, and why we should be far more worried about what people will do with AI than about anything AI will do on its own. The book also warns of the dangers of a world where AI continues to be controlled by largely unaccountable big tech companies.

By revealing AI’s limits and real risks, AI Snake Oil will help you make better decisions about whether and how to use AI at work and home.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691249131
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 09/24/2024
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 163,746
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Arvind Narayanan is professor of computer science at Princeton University and director of its Center for Information Technology Policy. He is the coauthor of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies (Princeton) and Fairness and Machine Learning. Sayash Kapoor is a PhD candidate in computer science at Princeton. He previously worked as a software engineer at Facebook, where he helped create AI for content moderation. To learn more, please visit AISnakeOil.com.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“With a much-needed dose of skepticism, this clear and practical guide will help you understand some of the worst dangers of the current AI hype cycle.”—Kate Crawford, author of Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence

“This revelatory book exposes the ‘AI hype vortex,’ a black hole of misinformation and mythmaking propelled by desires for quick fixes and a fast buck. Narayanan and Kapoor cut through the hype with crisp and accessible writing that bravely calls out how AI fails us daily, with devastating consequences, and points to how it might one day benefit us—but only if governed in the public interest.”—Alondra Nelson, Science, Technology, and Social Values Lab, Institute for Advanced Study

“Amidst the constant swirl of hype and fear around artificial intelligence, AI Snake Oil is a breath of fresh air. This expert and entertaining guide is a must-read for anyone who wonders about AI’s potential promise and its perils.”—Melanie Mitchell, author of Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans

“If you are only going to read one book on AI, make it this one. Narayanan and Kapoor make simple what everyone else is trying to make complex. Reading it makes you realize you are not crazy, the AI discourse is crazy, and they have given you a roadmap to clarity.”—Julia Angwin, author of Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance

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