Henry Kissinger on the Promise and Threats of AI

At this horrible moment in history, with Israel waging a war on multiple fronts and Ukraine fighting for its independence. it’s reassuring that serious thinkers have long been reflecting about national and global security. They are considering the way that AI will interact with military and strategic matters. Thus, The Age of AI (And Our Human Future), by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, and Daniel Huttenlocher, is keenly relevant even though the book is two years old, an eternity in AI-space.

The book is not a great read. It’s wordy, repetitive, and jargon-filled. But, in light of our onslaught of challenges, Chapter 5, “Security and World Order” (pages 135-176), is worthwhile. I begin my review with some comments on that chapter and then move on to the economics of AI and related topics.

About the authors

Henry Kissinger

It’s a surprise to find that Henry Kissinger has written a book at all – he’s 100 years old. It’s even more surprising to find that the book is about artificial intelligence, a recent outgrowth of the computer industry, which in turn is younger than Kissinger himself. He was a grown man of 22 when ENIAC, the first general-purpose programmable electronic computer, creaked to life at the University of Pennsylvania.1

Eric Schmidt, one of the co-authors of The Age of AI, is the former CEO of Google. It was not a surprise to see his name on the cover, along with that of Daniel Huttenlocher, who is the first, and so far, only, dean of the Schwarzman College of Computing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.