The Loop

Available now! Order a copy today!

“The Loop is a strong entry in the canon…AI represents perhaps the ultimate shiny object. But Ward penetrates to the dark vacancy at its core.”San Francisco Chronicle
“The best book I have ever read about AI.” – Roger McNamee, New York Times bestselling author of Zucked

A robot mediator for divorced couples. Software that tells police where to look for crime before it happens. Algorithms that finish half-written symphonies. Artificial intelligence is beginning to pick up patterns in our behavior that we’re not even conscious of, and as companies use it to reflect our unconscious selves back at us, we may not like what we’re about to become. In The Loop: How Technology is Creating a World without Choices and How to Fight Back, NBC News technology correspondent Jacob Ward melds the latest behavioral science with reporting from the frontiers of machine learning and activism to write what reviewers are calling “fascinating and unsettling,” and “a brilliant look at how A.I. turned to the dark side.”

Here’s my recent discussion about the book with DJ Patil at the Commonwealth Club:

Meanwhile, here’s a few other things I’ve written.

The New York Times Magazine

The Geno-Economists Say D.N.A. Can Predict Our Chances of Success

The New Yorker

We Are All Larry David

Popular Science

America’s Last, Lonely Humanoid Robot

One Man’s $10M Garage Workshop

The Trials and Torments of Space School

How to Move a Human without Killing It

Who Is to Blame When a Robot Car Crashes?


Maps and the Death of Local Knowledge

Redesigning the Worst City Park in New Jersey

The Rise of Courtroom Animations


How the McMenamin Brothers Conquered Portland

How-Tos from our Favorite Bands: My Morning Jacket

How-Tos from our Favorite Bands: People Under the Stairs

Five Teenagers Turned a Fire Station into a Concert Hall

Build Your Own Backyard Olympics

This Is the Only Fun Thing to Do in Fresno, and It’s Amazing


The Horror of Building San Francisco International Airport

How MacDonald’s Design Department Colonizes the World

The San Francisco LGBT Center is the Nation’s First “Out” Architecture

The Lawyers That Make Every Suburb Look the Same


A Mall that Straddles the US-Mexico Border

The First Library of the 21st Century

The San Francisco Street That Went Terribly Wrong

The Industry Standard

Black Executives Excluded from the Web’s Riches

The Curious Business of Naming Web Companies

Why Planned Parenthood Can’t Find a Developer

Al Sharpton’s Advertising Showdown

The Founder Who Almost Didn’t Make It