Having an engineer explain how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can aid in the fight against global warming might not seem like a formula for an engaging book. But R.S. Amblee manages to walk the tightrope between conversational, plain-spoken explanations of brainy scientific information, and a potentially bewildering blast of, well, brainy scientific information.
The author breaks down how technology can save the world in mostly digestible chapters, and packs an incredible amount of knowledge into a slim book. He begins by explaining AI and the potential of applying machine learning to all sorts of tasks.
As the book continues, Amblee devotes a large portion of the book to reporting on the many efforts already underway to fight global warming, endorsing the use of AI to manage a solar energy solution to the problem. Then he moves on to cover how technology is changing various industries, from transportation and agriculture to health care. As with his earlier discourse on global warming, these other topics are explained in digestible nuggets and step-by-step prose.
Amblee occasionally veers into jargon, such as “heuristic” and “neutral networks,” that may be offputting to some, but his talent as a writer is his ability to apply techie concepts to everyday consumer products that are familiar to readers. The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t scary when it’s explained that it’s already being used in the form of smart appliances and self-driving cars.
Readers also can’t help but respect Amblee’s depth of knowledge. Amblee reveals his knowledge of his topic by including lots of facts and data – big data, he calls it – and listing both government agencies and companies in the private sector that are working on the concepts he writes about.
Overall, readers will put down the book feeling that they’ve learned quite a bit about the world around them, and how it might change in the near and far future.