Author, "The Alignment Problem" and "Algorithms to Live By"
Brian Christian is an acclaimed author and researcher whose work explores the human implications of computer science. He is best known for his bestselling series of books:
The Most Human Human uses his experience as a human "confederate" in the Turing test to examine what chatbots reveal about the nature of language and communication. It was named a Wall Street Journal bestseller, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and a New Yorker favorite book of the year.
Algorithms to Live By, with Tom Griffiths, applies computational principles to everyday human decision making, painting a counterintuitively human picture of rationality. It was named a #1 Audible bestseller, Amazon best science book of the year, and MIT Technology Review best book of the year.
The Alignment Problem is a nuanced investigation of the ethics and safety challenges confronting the field of AI, and a portrait of the community of researchers working to address them. Nature called it "Meticulously researched and superbly written," and The New York Times called it “The best book on the key technical and moral questions of AI.” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella named it one of the five books that inspired him in 2021. The Alignment Problem was a Finalist for Los Angeles Times Best Science &Technology Book of the Year and won the Excellence in Science Communication Award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Christian’s writing has been translated into nineteen languages, and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Paris Review, and in scientific journals such as Cognitive Science. His work has won several literary awards, including fellowships at Bread Loaf, Yaddo, and MacDowell, publication in Best American Science & Nature Writing, and an award from the Academy of American Poets.
Christian has been a featured guest on The Daily Show, The Ezra Klein Show, and Radiolab, and has lectured at Google, Meta, Microsoft, Yale, the Santa FeInstitute, and the London School of Economics. He has advised business executives as well as Cabinet Members, Parliamentarians, and administrators in five countries about matters ranging from decision making to AI.
Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Christian holds degrees in philosophy, computer science, and poetry from Brown University and the University of Washington. A visiting scholar at the University of California,Berkeley, and a Clarendon Scholar at the University of Oxford, he lives in San Francisco and the UK.
The Most Human Human: What Artificial Intelligence Teaches Us About Being Alive
“Can machines think?” So begins Alan Turing’s legendary 1950 paper on machine intelligence in which he proposes a practical experiment – the Turing test – for telling the difference. A panel of judges talks via text message with two parties, one human and the other a machine, and attempts to tell which is which. Turing predicted that in the 21st century we would come to a point at which many of us would be unable to tell the difference. As AI technology increasingly permeates society and the gap between humans and machines continues to narrow, a look at both the history of the Turing test, and the present-day bots that compete in it, offers us a counterintuitive lesson: far from being a threat to our humanity, AI is teaching us, more than ever, who we are.
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions
All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us. In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary talk, Brian Christian shows how the simple, precise algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. He explains how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organising one's inbox to understanding the workings of human memory, he transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living
The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning ad Human Values with Brian Christian | Yale University
The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values
How the “Most Human Human” passed the Turing Test
Algorithms to Live By | The Long Now Foundation
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