A Sputnik moment: events that cause nations to suddenly realize they must work urgently to bridge or surpass a gap that’s arisen between them and a competitor. A book I recently finished titled “T-Minus AI”, reflects on the moment in history when that phrase was born. On October 4th, 1957, the United States was taken by surprise. The Soviet Union, under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, had just launched the first artificial satellite into space. As the book describes, Sputnik, a beachball-sized, silver metal sphere that weighed 184 pounds, was in orbit 495 miles above Earth. Speeding through space at 18,000 miles per hour, Sputnik crossed directly over the US mainland with each new orbit.
That single event set in motion a U.S. bipartisan response that accelerated scientific and technological advancement, while shifting the focus of the education system. Author Michael Kanaan uses this historical reference in the context of artificial intelligence (AI), viewing rapid advancements in AI as the sputnik moment of our times. Realizing we can Learn a Great Deal from History, Mr. Kanaan effectively applies it to our current situation. The book does a great job of describing the AI views of major global powers, and the technological foundations of artificial intelligence. As the former Co-Chair of Artificial Intelligence for the U.S. Air Force, Michael Kanaan brings great insights to the discussion. I highly recommend this look at the defining issue of our times. I have added the book to my Library.