Book review by: CDR Bari J. Jones
“T-Minus AI” by Michael Kanaan was fascinating, eye-opening, well-researched, and articulately written. This phenomenal book was written from Kanaan’s point of view and captures his research and vast knowledge on AI from the beginning of time to date. Three parts covered in this book consisted of the “evolution of intelligence, twenty-first-century computing and AI, and the sovereign state of AI.”
Kanaan’s book not only delivers but exceeded the goal of enhancing my understanding of AI. Throughout the book, Kanaan does a great job explaining the history of AI from the beginning, the rapid progression of AI over the years, the significance and complexity of AI, and the magnitude AI has had on the geopolitical landscape. Keep an open mind as you read this thought-provoking book because you will be presented with examples of failures as well as successes; nevertheless, there are more lessons to be learned.
One of many areas in the book, I found interesting and concerning at the same time is China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) strategy and the role AI has played in this strategy. “The BRI is intended to be a system of connectivity and economic influence to reestablish China as the most dominant trade and economic hub in the world.” (p. 169) I admit, I was not familiar with BRI prior to reading this book, but I am now, and have a better understanding of the significance AI technology has in this strategy, the impact the execution of this strategy has had globally to date, and the potential implications this strategy can have in the future.
Another area in the book, I thought was fascinating and genuinely concerning is how AI technology can be biased based on the data inputted into the technology. “When our thoughts, preferences, and actions are memorialized in the data we create, so too are the biases upon which they’re based.” (p.137) Kanaan provides examples of areas in which AI technology has been used to profile minorities some accidentally with unintended outcomes and others purposely with intended consequences.
“The future is here, and the world ahead looks far different than ever before.” (p. XIX) Reading this book, reiterates the importance of being aware of emerging AI technologies, the implications of those technologies, and the impact those technologies will have on the economy not only here in the United States but globally. I felt this book was exceptionally strong in research and historical data. As you read the book, you will notice the extent of research Kanaan devoted to this book. There are many references to delve further into the topic.
I give “T-Minus AI” a 5/5. I really enjoyed reading this book and learned a great deal about AI. I highly recommend government employees, i.e., military, and civilian read this thought-provoking book. This book should be required reading for all services. This is a book that will stay on my bookshelf for years to come.
Bari J. Jones is a Naval Officer. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and do not reflect those of the U.S. Navy, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.