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Cade Metz | Genius Makers

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The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World

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What does it mean to be smart? To be human? What do we really want from life and the intelligence we have, or might create? We are shown into the rooms where these questions are being answered. Where an extraordinarily powerful new artificial intelligence has been built into our biggest companies, our social discourse, and our daily lives, with few of us even noticing.

Long dismissed as a technology of the distant future, artificial intelligence was a project consigned to the fringes of the scientific community. Then two researchers changed everything.  Their ideas drove a new kind of arms race, spanning Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and OpenAI, a new lab founded by Silicon Valley kingpin Elon Musk.

Genius Makers dramatically presents the fierce conflict between national interests, shareholder value, the pursuit of scientific knowledge, and the very human concerns about privacy, security, bias, and prejudice. Like a great Victorian novel, this world of eccentric, brilliant, often unimaginably yet suddenly wealthy characters draws you into the most profound moral questions we can ask. And like a great mystery, it presents the story and facts that lead to a core, vital question: How far will we let it go?

Cade Metz is a technology correspondent with The New York Times, covering artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, virtual reality, and other emerging areas. Previously, he was a senior staff writer with Wired magazine. He works in The New York Times' San Francisco bureau. He is a native of Raleigh.

He will be in conversation with novelist and UNC professor Daniel Wallace.

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