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The Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence

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The hidden costs of artificial intelligence, from natural resources and labor to privacy, equality, and freedom

"This study argues that [artificial intelligence] is neither artificial nor particularly intelligent. . . . A fascinating history of the data on which machine-learning systems are trained."—New Yorker

“Eloquent, clear and profound—this volume is a classic for our times.”—Geoffrey C. Bowker, University of California, Irvine

What happens when artificial intelligence saturates political life and depletes the planet? How is AI shaping our understanding of ourselves and our societies? Drawing on more than a decade of research, award‑winning scholar Kate Crawford reveals how AI is a technology of extraction: from the minerals drawn from the earth, to the labor pulled from low-wage information workers, to the data taken from every action and expression. This book reveals how this planetary network is fueling a shift toward undemocratic governance and increased inequity. Rather than taking a narrow focus on code and algorithms, Crawford offers us a material and political perspective on what it takes to make AI and how it centralizes power. This is an urgent account of what is at stake as technology companies use artificial intelligence to reshape the world.

Author: Crawford Kate
Publisher: YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780300209570
Cover: Hardback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2021

Kate Crawford is a visiting distinguished professor at UC Berkeley, a senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research, and the inaugural chair of AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure. She co‑founded the AI Now Institute at New York University, and leads the Foundations of Machine Learning international working group.

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