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Almost Human: Making Robots Think

March 22, 2010

almost_human

Author:
Lee Gutkind
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2009)

American Library Assoc. | Creative nonfiction guru and seasoned immersion journalist Gutkind observes that just as computers changed the world in the 1990s, robots will “transform technology” in the future. To find out who is behind the growing robotic surge, Gutkind spent six years observing life at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, a “hypertechnological pressure cooker,” where work is frenzied, frustrating, “inspiring, compelling,” and addictive.

Gutkind presents vivid… read more

Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of Mastering the Oceans and Sky

December 19, 2012

modeling-ships-and-space-craft

Author:
Gina Hagler
Publisher:
Springer (2012)

Since the dawn of civilization, man has gazed across the oceans and up to the stars with dreams of conquering both. What may surprise readers is that the principles behind how ships were designed in yesteryear are not so far from how today’s air and space craft are created. In a new book by Gina Hagler, Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of Mastering the Oceansread more

Technology’s Promise: Expert Knowledge on the Transformation of Business and Society

July 16, 2010

Technology's Promise: Expert Knowledge on the Transformation of Business and Society

Author:
William E. Halal
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (2008)

Amazon | With the onset of a knowledge economy, modern nations are hard at work using ever more sophisticated information systems to power a “technology revolution” that is transforming our lives. This book is based on the work of the TechCast Project, conducted over the past decade at the George Washington University. Pooling the knowledge of 100 high-tech CEOs, scientists, engineers, academics, consultants, futurists, and other experts from around… read more

Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine

April 9, 2009

Beyond AI

Author:
J. Storrs Hall

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now advancing at such a rapid clip that it has the potential to transform our world in ways both exciting and disturbing. Computers have already been designed that are capable of driving cars, playing soccer, and finding and organizing information on the Web in ways that no human could. With each new gain in processing power, will scientists soon be able to create supercomputers that… read more

Nanofuture: What’s Next For Nanotechnology

April 9, 2009

nanofuture whats next

Author:
J. Storrs Hall
Publisher:
Prometheus Books (2005)

Hall writes that nanotechnology “involves building machines whose parts are of molecular size, but more importantly, of atomic precision … more »….” He foresees nanotechnology progressing through five stages of development, stage one being our current ability to image objects at an atomic scale with a limited ability to manipulate them, and stage five being the ability of miniature robots to reproduce and learn from experience.

A fellow… read more

Collider: The Search for the World’s Smallest Particles

April 6, 2011

Collider book cover

Author:
Paul Halpern
Publisher:
Wiley (2010)

Amazon | An accessible look at the hottest topic in physics and the experiments that will transform our understanding of the universe

The biggest news in science today is the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle-smasher, and the anticipation of finally discovering the Higgs boson particle. But what is the Higgs boson and why is it often referred to as the God Particle?… read more

H+/-: Transhumanism and Its Critics

May 5, 2011

H+/- Transhumanism and Its Critics book cover

Author:
Gregory R. Hansell, William Grassie
Publisher:
Xlibris Corporation (2011)

William Grassie | Can human nature be improved upon with the application on new sciences and technologies? Can we increase human life span, perhaps even curing death? Can we recreate ourselves and our children to be super healthy, super attractive, super athletic, super happy, and super smart? Who gets to decide these questions and how? Would these super humans still be humans or should we better call them… read more

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom

June 23, 2011

Buddha's Brain book cover

Author:
Rick Hanson, Richard Mendius
Publisher:
New Harbinger Publications (2009)

Publisher’s Weekly | The brain physiology associated with spiritual states has been fertile ground for researchers and writers alike. Neuropsychologist and meditation teacher Hanson suggests that an understanding of the brain in conjunction with 2,500-year-old Buddhist teachings can help readers achieve more happiness. He explains how the brain evolved to keep humans safe from external threats; the resulting built-in negativity bias creates suffering in modern individuals. Citing… read more

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

October 30, 2013

Hardwiring Happiness

Author:
Rick Hanson
Publisher:
Harmony (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

The Hanson-Yudkowsky AI-Foom Debate

September 11, 2013

the hanson_yudkowsky

Author:
Robin Hanson, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Publisher:
Machine Intelligence Research Institute (2013)

In late 2008, economist Robin Hanson and AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky conducted an online debate about the future of artificial intelligence, and in particular about whether generally intelligent AIs will be able to improve their own capabilities very quickly (a.k.a. “foom”). The original debate took place in a long series of blog posts, which are collected here. This book also includes a transcript of a 2011 in-person debate between… read more

The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think

October 16, 2013

xxx-dogs-woods-hare-books-2-3_4

Author:
Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2013)

Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets.

In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along… read more

Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory

April 21, 2011

Pavlov's Dogs book cover

Author:
Rom Harré
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2009)

Amazon | From the sheep, dog, and cockerel that were sent aloft in Montgolfier’s balloon to test the air over Paris, to the famous clone Dolly the Sheep and the Darwinian finches of the Galapagos, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat offers a fascinating and enlightening look at the use of plants and animals — including humans — in scientific experiments. Rom Harré provides a fresh and fascinating perspective on research,… read more

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

September 10, 2010

morallandscape

Author:
Sam Harris
Publisher:
Free Press (2010)

Amazon | Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to nonbelieving scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values.

Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious… read more

Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas

December 11, 2012

Transhumanism

Author:
Scott D de Hart, Joseph P. Farrell
Publisher:
Feral House (2012)

The ultimate question is no longer “who am I” or “why am I here.” These questions were answered in the earliest civilizations by philosophers and priests. Today we live in an age of such rapid advances in technology and science that the ultimate question must be rephrased: what shall we be? This book investigates what may become of human civilization, who is setting the agenda for a trans-humanistic civilization, and why .

The modern Victor… read more

A Brief History of Time

April 9, 2009
Author:
Stephen William Hawking
Publisher:
Bantam (1998)

Published in 1988, A Brief History of Time, was a landmark volume in science writing and in world-wide acclaim and popularity, with more than 9 million copies in print globally. The original edition was on the cutting edge of what was then known about the origins and nature of the universe. But the ensuing years have seen extraordinary advances in the technology of observing both the micro- and the macrocosmic… read more

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