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The Naked Future: What Happens in a World that Anticipates Your Every Move?

March 8, 2014
Author:
Patrick Tucker
Publisher:
Penguin (2014)

“Patrick Tucker’s thought-provoking, eye-opening, and highly entertaining book The Naked Future skillfully illustrates how the intelligent analysis of big data is allowing us to see into the future with ever-increasing precision.” — Ray Kurzweil

Right now the power of big data is in the hands of those mega-institutions inside the cryptic vaults of the NSA, the pioneers of Silicon Valley, and at the fingertips of Madison Avenue.… read more

Human Futures: Art in an Age of Uncertainty

July 14, 2010

Human Futures: Art in an Age of Uncertainty

Author:
Andy Miah
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press (2009)

Amazon | This innovative book, inspired by material from FACT’s Human Futures program and informed by an inquiry into the future of humanity, combines scholarly essays, images, interviews, design products, artifacts, and creative writing in order to portray how the culture of technological innovation is made and remade through bioculturally diverse forms of consumption. Human Futures addresses biological developments such as cloning, genetic modification, stem cell research alongside issues… read more

Zero History

September 3, 2010

Zero History

Author:
William Gibson
Publisher:
Putnam Adult (2010)

Amazon | After a gig investigating “locative art” for the “overly wealthy and dangerously curious” Hubertus Bigend, founder of the trend-forecasting firm Blue Ant (Spook Country, 2007), Hollis Henry finds herself once again under Bigend’s employ. This time she is hired to discover the identity of the designer of a secret brand of clothing called Gabriel Hounds, whom Bigend hopes to enlist in his bid to get into the… read more

Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding — And How We Can Improve the World Even More

December 29, 2010

GettingBetter

Author:
Charles Kenny
Publisher:
Basic Books (2011)

Amazon | As the income gap between developed and developing nations grows, so grows the cacophony of voices claiming that the quest to find a simple recipe for economic growth has failed. Getting Better, in sharp contrast, reports the good news about global progress. Economist Charles Kenny argues against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of widespread improvements in health, education, peace, liberty — and even happiness.… read more

Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything

February 9, 2011

Final Jeopardy cover

Author:
Stephen Baker
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2011)

Amazon | What if there were a computer that could answer virtually any question? IBM engineers are developing such a machine, teaching it to compete on the quiz show ”Jeopardy!” In February 2011, it will face off in a nationally televised game against two of the game’s greatest all-time winners, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Final Jeopardy tells the riveting story behind the match.

Final Jeopardy carries readers on… read more

Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment

April 4, 2011

Power Up Your Brain book cover

Author:
David Perlmutter, Alberto Villoldo
Publisher:
Hay House (2011)

Amazon | The quest for enlightenment has occupied mankind for millennia. And from the depictions we’ve seen — monks sitting on meditation cushions, nuns kneeling in prayer, shamans communing with the universe — it seems that this elusive state is reserved for a chosen few. But now, neuroscientist David Perlmutter and medical anthropologist and shaman Alberto Villoldo have come together to explore the commonalities between their specialties with the aim… read more

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

March 7, 2012

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Author:
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2012)

A thought-provoking and humorous collection on NASA and the future of space travel.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and brilliantly with popular audiences as with professional scientists. Now that NASA has put human space flight effectively on hold — with a five- or possibly ten-year delay until the next launch of astronauts from U.S. soil — Tyson’s views… read more

Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization

June 4, 2012

immortalitybookcover

Author:
Stephen Cave
Publisher:
Crown (2012)

Amazon | A fascinating work of popular philosophy and history that both enlightens and entertains, Stephen Cave’s Immortality investigates whether it just might be possible to live forever and whether we should want to.  But it also makes a powerful argument, which is that it’s our very preoccupation with defying mortality that drives civilization.

Central to this book is the metaphor of a mountaintop where one can find the Immortals.  Since the… read more

Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology

October 3, 2012

Trillions: Thriving in the Emerging Information Ecology

Author:
Peter Lucas, Joe Ballay, Mickey McManus
Publisher:
Wiley (2012)

We are facing a future of unbounded complexity.  Whether that complexity is harnessed to build a world that is safe, pleasant, humane and profitable, or whether it causes us to careen off a cliff into an abyss of mind-numbing junk is an open question. The challenges and opportunities–technical, business, and human–that this technological sea change will bring are without precedent. Entire industries will be born and others will be… read more

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

April 10, 2014

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Author:
Jeremy Rifkin
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (2014)

In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism.

Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but is now taking it to its… read more

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

October 21, 2014

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Author:
Rebecca Skloot
Publisher:
Crown (2010)

Amazon | Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951 — became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

This phenomenal… read more

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

April 9, 2009

In his first book since the bestselling Fermat’s Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet… read more

Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever

May 1, 2010

fantastic voyage book

Author:
Ray Kurzweil
Publisher:
Rodale Books (2004)

Amazon | The idea behind Kurzweil and Grossman’s Fantastic Voyage is that if you can make it through the next 50 years, you might become immortal. How will that be possible? Through some rather science fictional steps, it turns out, including taking advantage of the latest in biotechnological breakthroughs and not-yet-invented nanotechnology.

Is all this longing for immortality driven by an obsession with youth or a fear of death?… read more

The Long Tomorrow: How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone Aging

July 16, 2010

The Long Tomorrow: How Advances in Evolutionary Biology Can Help Us Postpone Aging

Author:
Michael R. Rose
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2005)

Amazon | Rose, an authority on gerontology, uses evolutionary biology to frame the problem of aging, contrasting the drive to reproduce in youth with the ability to survive into old age. In short, according to his research, the Victorians were right: sex is death. The evolutionary pressure of reproducing at an early age seems to have the side effect of causing early aging. Rose’s explanation of his theory is… read more

Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World

October 5, 2010

macrowikinomics-cover

Author:
Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams
Publisher:
Portfolio Hardcover (2010)

Amazon | In their 2007 bestseller, Wikinomics Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams showed the world how mass collaboration was changing the way businesses communicate, create value, and compete in the new global marketplace. Now, in the wake of the global financial crisis, the principles of wikinomics have become more powerful than ever.

Many of the institutions that have served us well for decades or centuries seem stuck… read more

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