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Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power: 5 Battlegrounds Hardcover – 10 January 2021
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- Publisher : Rupa Publications India (10 January 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 520 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9390356431
- ISBN-13 : 978-9390356430
- Item Weight : 650 g
- Dimensions : 14 x 3.33 x 21.59 cm
- Country of Origin : India
- Generic Name : Book
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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The most difficult section to read is part 2 battleground India . There is Bad news no doubt about it . What is most heartbreaking is that india is facing the same problem that it has been facing for centuries First there are not enough mentors and leaders , and the few we have people are not willing to follow them , i don't know how indians lost multi dimensional multi layered strategic long term thinking .
I am waiting for rajiv ji's sequel of this book which is going to talk about dharmik solution to the problem I am sure solution to this humongous problem lie somewhere in our shastras
AI is already here, as he demonstrates by the ability of Big Tech firms like Google, Face, Twitter etc. to map your complete profile and subtly but surely shaping your behaviour as per their ideological belief system and they becoming more and more intrusive and effective day by day.
His analysis of where our country stands in the AI sweepstakes is matter of fact and prescient - it is a scenario, which should disturb all Indians. A country, which emerged as a software power, is now reduced to the level of importing all sophisticated IT technology. How our giants in the field of IT industry failed the country by not investing in R&D. The comparision with China is both stark and frightening. China is competing with the US in the field of AI and has surpassed US in many areas. In contradistinction, we are atleast 5 to 7 years behind them.
This book must be a compulsory reading Must Read for all the Politicians, Bureaucrats, Business Houses & Young Indians - we as a nation should wake up from our stupor and galvanise into action.
This AI book by Rajiv Malhotra emphasizes the sinister aspects involved in data mining and how our social and political views are being conveyed to a multinational outside our country. Every like, every retweet, and every sharing of a Whatsapp message tells an outside entity more and more about us. This information is already being used in suggesting new books to read or new items to purchase. Now, this information will be used (in fact, as Rajiv says in this book, it is already being done) to modify our socio-political thought process. The information collected from us can then be utilized to send customized political messages to us. We might see posts that subtly sway our opinion; we might see facts that will create doubt on our existing beliefs.
So, AI is going to be significantly used to create more strife in India – as such, it is going to be the latest weapon for Breaking-India forces – something that Rajiv Malhotra had highlighted way back in his previous bestseller, “Breaking India.”
Recent US elections showed that Twitter challenged the world’s most powerful person – The then US President and modified or stopped his tweets. In this book, Rajiv Malhotra explains (and, if I may say predict) how this narrative control will be done in future Indian elections also.
The book points out that the real power struggle between the US and China is not on some peripheral issues – it is on technology control.
Rajiv Malhotra, true to his style, is candid and points out that India has missed out on understanding AI as a disruptive tool and a warfare technology at an institutional level. The book also points out that for all of our “pride” in our software industry, we are essentially technology consumers. None of the prominent Indian companies is making any serious investment in AI. They are engaged at the low-end BPO or support job
Top reviews from other countries
While the later portion deals specifically with India and A.I., and therefore may be less relevant to non-Indians, the first 2/3 of Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power are highly relevant to nearly everyone on the planet. It explains well what’s going on, but which many people have not even begin to see.
What A.I. is and how it is affecting our lives and how the interests that control it plan to reshape the world is somewhat horrifying. Many would rather just not know about it, or think about it, but that won't stop it. While this book is an excellent resource for policymakers (most of whom are woefully uninformed on this issue) it is perhaps even more pertinent to the individual, particularly those who value psychological/spiritual freedom and that of future generations.
A.I. is already here—Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, etc. and their counterparts in China—and as the A.I. platforms gain data, build models, and continually improve algorithms, they will get better and better at… giving us what we want? Well, sort of. But it all comes with a price, and that price includes freedom, autonomy and truth more than many of us might suspect; the A.I. platforms are not just getting better at providing services for humans, they are getting better at hooking humans into addictive, predictable behaviours. And they are getting better at manipulating humans, training them how to think and behave, based on (and this is the scary part) a narrow set of ideologies and sociopolitical agendas. As Rajiv puts it, “By complying with the values and policies of a platform, users succumb to the hooks that are designed to keep them in line, influence them, and gradually modulate their behavior.”
If the A.I. platforms were merely capitalist, they would be less dangerous. But they are programmed with the belief-systems and controlling tendencies of some very self-righteous, self-important, anti-freedom people.
The author of Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power, Rajiv Malhotra, is clearly very knowledgeable on the subject, but more than that, he is wise. His wisdom seems to be founded on a personal grasp of the ancient wisdom of India found in the Vedic (i.e., Hindu) traditions and scriptures, and he includes many Vedic terms as well as concepts in explaining and contextualizing his points. I must say that this is one of the aspects of the book I appreciated the most. While neither Indian nor Hindu (I'm a Christian Canadian), I've studied many of the most essential Hindu scriptures and teachings, and recognize the superiority of Hinduism as a knowledge-system (it is much more than just a World Religion). Clearly Rajiv feels the same way, and he also recognizes the sad truth that many modern Indians are spiritually disconnected from their rich spiritual heritage. This is something I sensed with certain Indians I've met, though I had a hard time putting my finger on what it was; Rajiv clearly articulates the issue and highlights factors which brought it about (e.g., colonialism) and those factors which are presently exacerbating it (namely the ascent of Western A.I. platforms in India, which, Rajiv posits may end up bringing about a new form of "digital" colonialism [the same is potentially happening in countries where Chinese A.I. systems are being integrated]).
Rajiv is clearly an advocate for the decolonization of India, and while I am leery of other modern decolonization movements (as they tend to smack of modern leftism, which can never be trusted) Rajiv makes a great case that, for India, decolonisation is not only a good idea, it is quite possibly essential to India's future well-being. Western and/or Chinese A.I., if allowed to flourish in India (as opposed to India developing its own A.I. systems and strategies) will destroy not only India’s economy, but, perhaps more importantly in the grand scheme of things, its culture/identity.
This focus on India, again, mainly comprises the last third of the book. The first 2/3 is highly relevant when it comes to the global or widespread economic, geopolitical, sociological, psychological and spiritual effects of the ascent of A.I. technologies.
Currently we are like toads in water that is about to boil. We don’t think it’s too hot. No need to jump out of the warm water just yet. Of course, when it starts to boil, it’s already too late. I believe that that “too late” point will happen for some when they are having intimate relationships with machines, like in the movie Her. This kind of scenario, or its equivalents, are not far off, maybe 5 years. The implications are, again, economic as well as social and spiritual. What happens when you can have a far easier—not to mention more accessible—relationship experience with a machine than with a real human? Many will fall down this and other such rabbit holes before they even realize what’s happened. So, this book is an alarm that many of us need to hear NOW. Five years from now it may be too late, truly. It would be nice if our political leaders and tech leaders would read this book and/or heed its warnings, but they are about as trustworthy as the mainstream media when it comes to integrity (meaning not at all).
Speaking of which, one of my few gripes with this book is that Rajiv’s understandings of certain events and movements in the modern West seem to have been gleamed from very biased and unreliable sources. He understands the complexities of India but seems to paint the West with a fairly simplistic, biased, and often inaccurate, brush. For example, Rajiv iterated more than once the lazy mainstream media talking point on ‘Russian hacking of the 2016 election,’ and affirmed that “the Black Lives Matter movement is important and relevant for the ongoing evolution of US society”—highly debatable considering the amount of damage, death and destruction which occurred last year as a result of this supposedly peaceful movement. Obviously black lives matter, but not all movements with nice names are actually good for society, as Rajiv surely knows. He seems to be confusing mainstream (i.e., leftist) American media talking points for what’s actually going on in the West and how Westerners (especially those who are not brainwashed) actually think. Rajiv needs to understand that the Western media is neither representative of the people (at least not half of them), nor is it representative of the facts. Some of what he fears will happen in India through the intrusion of Western A.I. has already happened to a great extent in the West, by radical (neomarxist, etc.) ideologies which have been embraced by the mainstream media, Big Tech oligarchs, bureaucrats, academia, etc., then pushed on the rest of us.
In short, I think Rajiv needs to stop watching CNN. And perhaps stop using Google (that goes for the rest of us too: we need to start unplugging. That’s what this book taught me more than anything).
One more complaint: Rajiv writes:
“Tesla CEO, Elon Musk has said that AI is “the biggest risk we face as a civilization”. (Of course, subsequently, he switched sides and invested in research for AI-based interventions in the human brain.)”
This is simply not true. Elon did not “switch sides” in terms of his stance on the existential threat of A.I., he just believes that merging humans with A.I. is perhaps the only way for humans to not be completely left in the dust, and it is also a way of hopefully enabling democratization of A.I. power in the future, and averting the disaster of super-A.I. getting in the hands of a small group of people. ('If we all have it and we are all plugged in, we are less likely to be mistaken for ants.')
In spite of these critiques—which I hope Rajiv will take into consideration for his future books, as I know he is a lover of truth—Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power is a brilliant and timely book. (It is also very well written.) I’ve recommended it to many friends and even bought a copy for my dad. Much respect and many thanks to Rajiv for writing it and for his kshatriyata in this trying time. Namaste.
Will write a detailed review once I finish the complete book. Thanks Dr. Malhotra for writing this book.