Book review: The Bit Revolution by Gernot Brauer
As with many other people, my knowledge of the “AI & Digitalization & Big Data” congeries is made up of random fragments. One day you come across a culture-critical 4.0 essay, followed by an alarming study on “5G-contamination”, days later you read an anthem about the boundless optimism in Silicon Valley and then a muddle-headed plea for a trans-human AI Utopia.
The bottom line is that little remains memorised and each additional input promotes a rather frustrating fishing in the murky. Sometimes you feel like Mrs. Merkel, who a while ago told her intercepting friend Obama, “Internet is a new territory for all of us”. And so the vast majority prefers to keep their fingers off the data topic, hoping that experts in the US and China will yet settle, somehow, for the better, if possible….
In the midst of this discomfort, I got hold of the recently released book by Gernot Brauer: “The Bit Revolution – Artificial Intelligence takes control of all of us in business, politics and society.”
The reading turned out to be a real bonanza, not only because reading pleasure, increment of knowledge and explanation of even the most complex issues go hand in hand.
First, Brauer leads us step by step through the history and the most important developing stages of the data revolution up to the present of 2018. Quasi along the way the smattering concepts such as bots, blockchains and bitcoins are finally explained, the rooms of the darknet are being described as well as the ghostly inner life of the Big Five Kraken, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple is laid out in detail. There are also plenty of anecdotes, hacker stories and a wide range of quotes coined by Einstein, Heisenberg, Jobs, Musk, Lanier and Curioni.
Although Brewer sometimes becomes exasperated of German lethargy and timidity, and in particular of the Merkel era’s typical waiting out, blocking out and esperance , he also finds positive examples. Among them Munich-based Prisma Analytics stands out, a small team, that, largely unnoticed, became a global player in the field of data intelligence.
Over many years of development work, innovative methods of real-time data acquisition have been virtually single-handedly transformed and shaped into a global leading enterprise in the fields of computer sciences, big data, artificial intelligence and above all, predictive analytics “.
In practical terms major banks, corporations, governments, NGOs and administrations are provided with sound forecasts on financial, political and social developments, with information on mitigating risks regarding geopolitical and macroeconomical issues, and, above all, with constantly updated forecasts on economic and political trends and crisis prevention, for example on migration potentials, weather disasters , famine, epidemics or the threat of collapsing markets.
Since merging with Blackstone’s database, Prisma Analytics has signed deals with governments in the gulf region, with some operators of the world’s largest trade ports and with the state of Malaysia.
To find out more about the spirit at Prisma Analytics, Brauer has met and discussed several times with the mastermind Frank Otto Schlör (62). Before Schlör plunged into the Big Data Kingdom, he studied as a self-taught mathematics, psychology, sociology and philosophy – from the ancient Greeks and Romans to Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein.
The whole review by Wolf Reiser about the book „The Bit Revolution – Artificial Intelligence takes control of all of us in business, politics and society.” by Gernot Brauer, see below.