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Mars and the Mind of Man

September 5, 2012

mars_and_the_mind_of_man

Author:
Carl Sagan
Publisher:
Harper & Row (1973)

On November 12, 1971, the day before NASA’s Mariner 9 mission reached Mars and became the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, Caltech Planetary Science professor Bruce Murray summoned a formidable panel of thinkers to discuss the implications of the historic event. Murray himself was to join the great Carl Sagan and science fiction icons Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke in a conversation moderated by Newread more

I Am a Strange Loop

May 4, 2011

I am a Strange Loop book cover

Author:
Douglas R. Hofstadter
Publisher:
Basic Books (2008)

Amazon | Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here?

I Am a Strange Loop argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop” — a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is… read more

Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century

January 18, 2010
Author:
Howard Bloom
Publisher:
Wiley (2001)

Publishers Weekly | Bloom’s debut, The Lucifer Principle (1997), sought the biological basis for human evil. Now Bloom is after even bigger game. While cyber-thinkers claim the Internet is bringing us toward some sort of worldwide mind, Bloom believes we’ve had one all along. Drawing on information theory, debates within evolutionary biology, and research psychology (among other disciplines), Bloom understands the development of life on Earth as a series… read more

FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop–From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication

April 9, 2009
Author:
Neil Gershenfeld
Publisher:
Basic Books (2007)

Personal fabrication (PF) is the ability to design and produce your own products in your own home, with a machine that combines consumer electronics and industrial tools. This book describes how personal fabricators are about to revolutionize the world just as personal computers did a generation ago.

Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

July 16, 2010

Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

Author:
Bill McKibben
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin (2004)

Amazon | In 1989, McKibben published The End of Nature, a gorgeously written and galvanizing book about the true cost of global warming, the destruction of the ozone layer and other man-made ills-the loss of wild nature and with it the priceless aspect of our humanity that evolved to listen to and heed it. Now McKibben applies the same passion, scholarship and free-ranging thought to a subject that even… read more

Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future

July 16, 2010

Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future

Author:
James Hughes
Publisher:
Unknown (2004)

Amazon | In the next fifty years, life spans will extend well beyond a century. Our senses and cognition will be enhanced. We will have greater control over our emotions and memory. Our bodies and brains will be surrounded by and merged with computer power. The limits of the human body will be transcended as technologies such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering converge and accelerate. With them,… read more

Breakpoint

February 12, 2010

breakpoint

Author:
Richard A. Clarke
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam's Sons (2007)

Penguin Group | In his fiction debut, The Scorpion’s Gate, Richard A. Clarke, former counterterrorism czar for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, projected a world in 2010 in which the United States and China were competing politically and economically for a dwindling supply of increasingly expensive oil and gas.  That competition naturally took them to the Persian Gulf where the largest oil deposits remained, where the United States… read more

Atlas Shrugged

April 21, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

Author:
Ayn Rand
Publisher:
Plume (1999)

Amazon | Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand’s greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex.

Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama… read more

Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I.

June 8, 2001

Are We Spiritual Machines

Author:
Jay W. Richards, Ray Kurzweil, George Gilder
Publisher:
Discovery Institute (2001)

Computers are becoming more powerful at an ever-increasing rate, but will they ever become conscious? Artificial intelligence guru Ray Kurzweil thinks so and explains how we will “download” our software (our minds) and “upgrade” our hardware (our bodies) to become immortal — before the dawn of the 22nd century.

In this debate with his critics, including several Discovery Institute fellows, Kurzweil defends his views and sets the stage… read more

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