"Eloquent, clear and profound—this volume is a classic for our times. It draws our attention away from the bright shiny objects of the new colonialism through elucidating the social, material and political dimensions of artificial intelligence."
—Geoffrey C. Bowker, University of California, Irvine
In Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence, to be published April 6 by Yale, Crawford reveals how the global networks underpinning AI technology are damaging the environment, entrenching inequality, and fueling a shift toward undemocratic governance. She takes us on a journey through the mining sites, factories, and vast data collections needed to make AI "work" — powerfully revealing where they are failing us and what should be done.
While technical systems present a veneer of objectivity and neutrality, Crawford shows how they are designed to serve and intensify existing systems of power. Drawing on a decade of original research, she shows how the new infrastructures of AI reflect the beliefs and perspectives of a small group of people and serve the interests of the few at the expense of the many.
"Eloquent and revelatory…. Crawford limns the dire stakes of unbridled technological expansion. Methodologically original and keenly intelligent, Atlas of AI is an indispensable map of the present that boldly calls readers to chart a more just and sustainable future."
—Alondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council
"A must read. Moving from lithium mines to data extraction, from labor exploitation to government surveillance, Atlas of AI eloquently reveals how intelligence is ‘made.’ It displaces anemic calls for ‘ethics’ with probing investigations into the environmental degradation, capital accumulation, and labor conditions that AI makes possible."
—Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Canada 150 Chair in New Media, SFU
"Artificial intelligence seems to haunt the world like a ghost in our machines. But as Kate Crawford shows in her vivid, unnerving book, this amalgam of algorithms, data, hardware is anything but immaterial. Atlas of AI is an outstanding contribution: the ghost of AI made visible."
—Peter Galison, author of Einstein's Clocks
"By brilliantly tracing the history, mythology, ethics, and politics of artificial intelligence, Atlas of AI reminds us that the stories we tell about AI are just as vital as the mathematical models that comprise these systems."
—Ruha Benjamin, author of Race After Technology
"Whether you’re a devoted researcher, an AI practitioner, or a general reader concerned about the growing power of data, this is an eye-opening tour of the planetary resources, laboring bodies, and relations of power that travel under the sign of AI, lending the empire of data its unsustainable life."
—Lucy Suchman, author of Human-Machine Reconfigurations
"From the extraction of labor, latex, and lithium to the politics of proxies and Palantir, Atlas of AI is a rigorous interrogation of the power relations that reproduce AI, and a necessary mapping of its very limits. This is an essential book."
—Simone Browne, author of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness
"Kate Crawford looks at artificial intelligence with a humanist's eye and an artist's sense of what really matters. If you think AI is all about big data and machine learning, this marvelous book will remind you: it’s about the natural world, and politics, and history, and sometimes, even beauty too."
—Fred Turner, author of The Democratic Surround