The Peace Machine

Reading material

English sample
Finnish edition

Original title: Rauhankone

Published: 2017

Publisher: Gaudeamus

Class/genre: Non-Fiction

Pages: 285 pp.

THE PEACE MACHINE: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for World Peace

Is world peace possible – or even inevitable? This book explains how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to build a more peaceful and prosperous future for all of humanity.

In 1971, a woman took her own life. Her husband, already traumatized by his experiences in the Second World War, was left to raise their eight-year-old son alone. Growing up under these difficult circumstances, the boy turned to reading to try to understand the world. As a young man, he devoted himself to the study of computer science, applying the nascent discipline of artificial intelligence to understanding the mind, language and society. He grew up to be an internationally recognized academic. In 2014, Professor Timo Honkela was diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer. At this turning point in his life, he decided that rather than giving up and waiting for his inescapable demise, he would devote his remaining time to serving the greater good.

The fruit of this effort, The Peace Machine, is a proposal for the application of artificial intelligence, machine learning, language technology and pattern recognition to promoting peace in the world. In the book, Professor Honkela explains how to leverage advances in artificial intelligence to promote mutual understanding between people, provide insights on our emotions and foster justice for all. During the remainder of his life, his dearest wish is to see these concepts disseminated throughout the world. He strongly believes that positive uses for artificial intelligence exist, but whether individuals and societies take advantage of them is a matter of choice.

FINLAND:Gaudeamus (Orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri
FRANCE: Éditions Saint-Simon

”To the reader

When I first met Professor Timo Honkela, I was impressed. There were two reasons for this. The first was his desire to use artificial intelligence based on his long experience to serve all the good things that are needed in the world today: peace building, mediation, finding peaceful solutions and preparing compromises. There are so many new war machines under costruction – and finally someone is creating a peace machine.

The other reason was personal. Due to his cancer Professor Honkela was well aware that for us human beings the time is limited. It is good to leave behind something that serves the mankind and leaves better options for the generations to come.

Professor Honkela’s idea to use the artificial intelligence to serve the peace is both respectable and fascinating. In the future, the peace machine might help the conflict parties to find optimal solutions, or it might give advice to the UN Security Council to advance global security. But it can also be an app in our phone, solving and advicing in everyday conflicts.

Peace begins at home.

I recommend this book to everyone who wants new perspectives for peace making

Pekka Haavisto
Member of Parliament, Finland
President of the European Institute of Peace EIP”



“The Peace Machine is an exceptional non-fiction book also due to its strongly personal nature.” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

”This man wants to make use of artificial intelligence for peace, real peace.” – de Volkskrant newspaper, the Netherlands

Timo Honkela

TIMO HONKELA has researched artificial intelligence and machine learning for over 30 years, and served as a professor in three universities, including his current post as Professor of Digital Information Research in Helsinki University. The Peace Machine is his testament, in which he talks about his life work in hopes of inspiring other people to continue the important work.


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