Web dev at the end of the world, from Hveragerði, Iceland

Additions to my book, The Intelligence Illusion


Early reactions to The Intelligence Illusion: a practical guide to the business risks of Generative AI have been very positive:

I bought it, and I read most of it (skimming the middle part), and it is brilliant. Thank you!

Matthias Büchse

I just bought the book this morning, and it’s exactly what I needed. I have not seen a clearer description of how generative AI works, what it might be good for, and what the risks are. The references alone are worth the price of the book.

Dave Cramer

It combines deep research, logical analysis and clear business recommendations. Everyone’s talking about this topic, and anyone who has read this is going to be better informed and prepared than most.

George Walkley

But, one of my concerns since I published the book is how best to make information about the risks of generative AI more approachable. It’s a complex topic and the book, even though it’s written for a non-technical audience, can go into quite a bit of detail and analysis.

I want to make it easier for you to get up to speed, to develop a nose for detecting “AI Bullshit” yourself, in a way that complements the detail and analysis of the book.

That’s why I’ve put together a deck of fifteen information cards, each goes into a risk or topic related to generative AI, gives you a single-page overview, followed by the references specific to it as well as where it’s covered in the book.

The cards are:

  1. Introduction
  2. What do the words mean? (Terms)
  3. Artificial General Intelligence
  4. Bias & Safety
  5. Code Generation
  6. Copyright
  7. Fraud & Abuse
  8. Hallucinations
  9. Image Generation
  10. Snake Oil
  11. Language Models
  12. Plagiarism
  13. Poisoning
  14. Privacy
  15. Shortcut “Reasoning”

I also included a BibTex file with all the references I used for the book, and a few that I didn’t, as a bonus.

The zip file with all fifteen PDFs is included with every bundle and every version of The Intelligence Illusion: a practical guide to the business risks of Generative AI.

Those of you who bought the bundle or the book before I added the card deck, should be able to sign in at their order page using just the email you used during checkout. And if you have any problems, just email me, and I’ll use the ecommerce system to resend you the download receipt.

You can download a sample PDF here:

Thumbnail of the PDF card, see summary below for the text

Card Text


Training data sets seem to include personal data

This includes data both scraped from the web and provided by the customers of the AI vendor in question.

Models can’t “unlearn”, yet

Once a model has trained on a data set, removing that data from the model is difficult. “Machine Unlearning” is still immature, and it’s uncertain whether it can be made to work on models like GPT-4.

Language Models are vulnerable to many privacy attacks

Attackers can discover whether specific personal data was in the training data set. They can often reconstruct and extract specific data. Some attacks let you infer the specific properties of the data set, such as the gender ratios of a medial AI.

Hosted software has fewer privacy guarantees

Many major AI tools are hosted, which limits the privacy assurances they can make. Pasting confidential data into a ChatGPT window is effectively leaking it. Do not enter private or confidential data into hosted AI software.

Data is often reviewed by underpaid workers

Even if personal data in the training set doesn’t end up in the model itself, much of that data is reviewed by a small army of underpaid workers.

AI vendors are being investigated

Privacy regulators are looking into AI industry practices. That includes most major European countries, the EU itself, Canada, four regulatory bodies in the US, and more. The US FTC has forced tech companies in the past to delete models that were trained on unauthorised personal data.

I put together a special page for the information deck, where you can buy just the deck alone for $9.99, although I expect that most will be buying as a part of The Intelligence Illusion: a practical guide to the business risks of Generative AI as it works best in conjunction with the book.

I also updated the page for the book itself with more excerpts.

The two together, the book and the cards, make for a compelling and approachable introduction to the many issues with generative AI.

The Intelligence Illusion by Baldur Bjarnason

What are the major business risks to avoid with generative AI? How do you avoid having it blow up in your face? Is that even possible?

The Intelligence Illusion is an exhaustively researched guide to the business risks of language and diffusion models.

Get the ebook in PDF and EPUB for $35

You can also find me on Mastodon and Bluesky