bookshelf by year

Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead

September 14, 2016

driverless-cover

author |
Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman
year published |
2016

Driverless is an informative and entertaining exploration of self-driving cars. After decades of failed experiments, recent and rapid advances in artificial intelligence, data, and sensors — combined with Google’s tenacious, high-profile experiments — are transforming cars and trucks into mobile transportation robots. The good news is that driverless cars will save millions of lives lost to traffic accidents, ease air pollution, and make parking lots obsolete.  Long-suffering commuters can finally breathe… read more

The Intelligent Universe: AI, ET, and the Emerging Mind of the Cosmos

June 29, 2011

Intelligent Universe book cover

author |
James N. Gardner
year published |
2007

Amazon | What is the ultimate destiny of our universe? That is the striking question addressed by James Gardner in The Intelligent Universe.

Traditionally, scientists (and Robert Frost) have offered two bleak answers to this profound issue: fire or ice.

The cosmos might end in fire — a cataclysmic Big Crunch in which galaxies, planets, and life forms are consumed in a raging inferno as the universe… read more

The Blockchain Alternative: rethinking macroeconomic policy & economic theory

March 29, 2017

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author |
Kariappa Bheemaiah
year published |
2017

Examine what would happen if we were to deploy blockchain technology at the sovereign level and use it to create a decentralized cashless economy. This book explains how finance and economics work today, and how the convergence of various technologies related to the financial sector can help us find solutions to problems, such as excessive debt creation, banks getting too big to fail, and shadow banking.

The Blockchain Alternative offers sensible corrections… read more

The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen — and What to Do

May 14, 2013

The Human Race to the Future

author |
Daniel Berleant
year published |
2013

Who doesn’t wonder about the future… what things will be like some day, how long it might take, and what we can do about it?
This book gives possible answers, spanning from the current century to nearly eternity. Imaginative yet scientifically plausible, most chapters offer a concluding section discussing actions to take in view of the predicted future scenarios. Some of these actions can be done by individuals, others… read more

What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us

August 28, 2017

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author |
Tim O'Reilly
year published |
2017

“Everything is amazing, everything is horrible, and it’s all moving too fast,” writes O’Reilly, founder of a media company based in Silicon Valley, who describes himself as having spent most of his career thinking about the future. Here, he acknowledges that despite the amazing technological advances made in recent history, many people are trepidatious about the future, anticipating a dystopia in which robots have taken most human jobs. Who… read more

Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (P.S.)

November 26, 2012

Words and Rules

author |
Steven Pinker
year published |
2011

How does language work? How do we learn to speak? Why do languages change? Why do they have so many quirks? What does language reveal about the mind?

Steven Pinker explores the mysteries of language in this original and hugely entertaining book. Pinker uses a deceptively simple phenomenon—regular and irregular verbs—to illuminate an astonishing array of topics: the history of languages, what we can learn from children’s grammatical… read more

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

October 30, 2013

Hardwiring Happiness

author |
Rick Hanson
year published |
2013

Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of being appreciated?

Because your brain evolved to learn quickly from bad experiences but slowly from the good ones.

You can change this.

Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and… read more

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots

September 7, 2015

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author |
John Markoff
year published |
2015

As robots are increasingly integrated into modern society—on the battlefield and the road, in business, education, and health—Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times science writer John Markoff searches for an answer to one of the most important questions of our age: will these machines help us, or will they replace us?

In the past decade alone, Google introduced us to driverless cars, Apple debuted a personal assistant that we keep in our… read more

The Ageless Generation: How Advances in Biomedicine Will Transform the Global Economy

July 3, 2013

The Ageles Generation

author |
Alex Zhavoronkov
year published |
2013

Over the past 20 years, the biomedical research community has been delivering hundreds of breakthroughs expected to extend human lifespan beyond thresholds imaginable today.

However, much of this research has not yet been adopted into clinical practice, nor has it been widely publicized. Biomedicine will transform our society forever by allowing people to live longer and to continue working and contributing financially to the economy longer, rather than… read more

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy

October 12, 2015

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author |
David A. Mindell
year published |
2015

“[An] essential book… it is required reading as we seriously engage one of the most important debates of our time.”—Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

From drones to Mars rovers—an exploration of the most innovative use of robots today and a provocative argument for the crucial role of humans in our increasingly technological future.

In Our Robots, Ourselves, David Mindell… read more

How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight

November 18, 2016

how-to-make-a-spaceship-cover

author |
Julian Guthrie
year published |
2016

The historic race that reawakened the promise of manned spaceflight

Alone in a Spartan black cockpit, test pilot Mike Melvill rocketed toward space. He had eighty seconds to exceed the speed of sound and begin the climb to a target no civilian pilot had ever reached. He might not make it back alive. If he did, he would make history as the world’s first commercial astronaut.

The… read more

The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix

February 11, 2013

Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix Jacket Image.r (1)

author |
James D. Watson, Alexander Gann, Jan Witkowski
year published |
2012

Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA, an annotated and illustrated edition of this classic book gives new insights into the personal relationships between James Watson, Frances Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin, and the making of a scientific revolution.

In his 1968 memoir, The Double Helix, the brash young scientist James Watson chronicled the drama of… read more

How I Accidentally Started the Sixties

November 7, 2014

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author |
Howard Bloom
year published |
2014

“Every page, every paragraph, every sentence sparkles with captivating metaphors, delightful verbal concoctions, alchemical insights, philosophic whimsy, absurd illogicals, scientific comedy routines, relentless, non-stop waves of hilarity. The comparisons to James Joyce are undeniable. Wow! Whew! Wild! Wonderful!”” Timothy Leary

The strangest memoir you will ever read.

You or your parents lived it. I helped start it. And it was an accident. It was the era of… read more

Androids and Intelligent Networks in Early Modern Literature and Culture: Artificial Slaves

September 21, 2016

androids-and-intelligent-networks-cover

author |
Kevin LaGrandeur
year published |
2012

Awarded a 2014 Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Prize Honorable Mention.

This book explores the creation and use of artificially made humanoid servants and servant networks by fictional and non-fictional scientists of the early modern period.

Beginning with an investigation of the roots of artificial servants, humanoids, and automata from earlier times, LaGrandeur traces how these literary representations coincide with a surging interest in automata and experimentation,… read more

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

March 23, 2012

whynationsfail

author |
Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson
year published |
2012

Amazon | Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how… read more

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