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The Most Important Century

The Most Important Century has a simple argument: we, currently, live in the most important century ever for humanity. This is ridiculously bold, so Karnofsky spends a good amount of time justifying his position. The gist is that AI will radically change the future in ways that look entirely unfamiliar to us today. This AI-driven future is likely nearer than most people would imagine, and we should start preparing because we're not ready now.

Most definitely, this is interesting, and is fuel for a lot of interesting thought. However, while I can't find specific holes in the argument (which leads towards digital personhood, etc), it feels a bit like science fiction. And perhaps that's the point: the future will be SO weird, we have to be willing to suspend disbelief about what it'll look like. I do think Holden Karnofsky and I could find a lot of common ground about what we should do today, but I do find myself still skeptical due to being a bit more humble about what we can accurately predict.

AI is accelerating. It's wild, and things are changing fast. I still don't know how this will impact humanity, positively or negatively. As a note, the book is free online, and has a free audiobook that can be added to any podcast app.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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