Co-Intelligence by Ethan Mollick [8/10]

An academic in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, Ethan Mollick has written one of the few AI books in 2024 that could change my life. Engaging fully with all the current and future uncertainties around the current incarnation of AI, namely LLMs such as Chat-GPT, Gemini, and Claude 3, Mollick adopts an approach that at first appears provocative but quickly seems essential. Namely, whether you approve or decry the LLMs, whether you welcome them or quake from them, the only thoughtful approach is to use them and come to know them. And in Co-Intelligence: Living and Working with AI, Mollick vigorously espouses diving in and treating them as if they are human interns, flawed but useful if employed sagely. In the words of his blurb, we should “engage with AI as co-worker, co-teacher, and coach.” Wow! The scales fell off my eyes. Mollick is a wonderful writer on the subject, setting matters out clearly, explaining his approach step by step (with numerous practical examples), and writing in an engaging manner. Some of the more enticing suggestions felt rather bold when reading them but also thrilling. For example, he uses three different “characters,” called Ozymandias, Mnemosyne, and Steve to help edit written material. For such a weighty idea, Co-Intelligence is not of doorstop size, and a couple of evenings of reading might, as it did for me, radicalise your approach to this new, weird technology.

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