Walsh 2.0

AI expert Toby Walsh sees AI impacts in work, war, and from politics to consciousness — 10 major topics in all, one per chapter.

The title is grounded in Walsh’s home turf of computer science. 2062 is the year by which there is a 50% probability that computers will match or exceed human abilities in most areas. The timeframe is from a paper by Oxford researchers who sampled opinions of leading AI researchers.

The book is strongest in its computer science roots: understanding bias in algorithms, analyzing the relative strengths of humans and computers, and imagining possibilities for ‘co-learning’. Also notable is his analysis of intelligent weaponry. Walsh is an international activist in favour of an outright ban.

This is Walsh’s second book in the same year and its speed to market sometimes shows. Some issues receive a drive-by. For example, about journalism, he refers to the scale of reductions during the internet disruption and concludes, ‘These issues need to be resolved well before 2062 if we are to have a functioning fourth estate that keeps politicians in check’. There was much more about impacts for journalism in his earlier book.

Still, Walsh is an effective communicator and this is a breezy and useful read from start to finish. 2062 is good for good casual reading and, given the author’s credentials, can double as a quotable/citable reference.

Walsh was named in Australia as a ‘rock star’ of the digital revolution, is a professor of artificial intelligence at University of New South Wales, and a frequent speaker/pundit.

We’re used to learning everything pretty much from scratch for ourselves. We have no personal experience of learning at a planet-wide scale. Imagine if you could co-learn like computers can, by simply sharing code. You would be able to speak every language in the world.

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2062: The World that AI Made
Schwartz Publishing Pty. Ltd. | 2018 | by Toby Walsh

Review by Andrew Cochran | January 2019

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