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Humanity 2.0: What it Means to be Human Past, Present and Future

July 13, 2013

Humanity 2.0

Author:
Steve Fuller
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (2011)

Social thinkers in all fields are faced with one unavoidable question: what does it mean to be ‘human’ in the 21st century? As definitions between what is ‘animal’ and what is ‘human’ break down, and as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and nano- and bio- technologies develop, accepted notions of humanity are rapidly evolving.

Humanity 2.0 is an ambitious and groundbreaking book, offering a sweeping overview of key… read more

What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite

December 14, 2011

WhatMakesYourBrainHappy

Author:
David DiSalvo
Publisher:
Prometheus Books (2011)

Amazon | Why do we routinely choose options that don’t meet our short-term needs and undermine our long-term goals? Why do we willingly expose ourselves to temptations that undercut our hard-fought progress to overcome addictions? Why are we prone to assigning meaning to statistically common coincidences? Why do we insist we’re right even when evidence contradicts us?

In What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Doread more

Augmenting Cognition

May 21, 2012

augmentingcognition

Author:
Idan Segev, Henry Markram
Publisher:
EFPL Press (2011)

Amazon | The Human brain is only 100,000 years old. Yet, this newly evolved organ endows us with unique creative capabilities beyond all other living creatures, including the gift to understand itself. As our very survival and success in life depends on utilizing our brain’s power, intense efforts have begun worldwide to understand the brain, reverse-engineer it and even augment its capacity. Towards this end we harness every trick in… read more

Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter

December 14, 2011

incompletenature

Author:
Terrence W. Deacon
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The “Theory of Everything” that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are. These most immediate and incontrovertible phenomena are left… read more

Avogadro Corp

March 19, 2012

avogadrocorpcr1

Author:
William Hertling
Publisher:
Liquididea Press (2011)

Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears is a techno-thriller about the accidental creation of an artificial intelligence.

David Ryan is the designer of ELOPe, an email language optimization program, that if successful, will make his career. But when the project is suddenly in danger of being canceled, David embeds a hidden directive in the software accidentally creating a runaway artificial intelligence.

David and… read more

Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain

December 14, 2011

whosincharge

Author:
Michael S. Gazzaniga
Publisher:
Ecco (2011)

Amazon | The father of cognitive neuroscience and author of Human offers a provocative argument against the common belief that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes and we are therefore not responsible for our actions.

A powerful orthodoxy in the study of the brain has taken hold in recent years: Since physical laws govern the physical world and our own brains are part of that world, physical

read more

Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems

October 26, 2012

Surpassing Shanghai

Author:
Marc S. Tucker, Linda Darling-Hammond
Publisher:
Harvard Education Press (2011)

This book answers a simple question: How would one redesign the American education system if the aim was to take advantage of everything that has been learned by countries with the world’s best education systems?

With a growing number of countries outperforming the United States on the most respected comparisons of student achievement—and spending less on education per student—this question is critical.

Surpassing Shanghai looks in depth at… read more

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself

December 14, 2011

You-Are-Not-So-Smart-199x300

Author:
David McRaney
Publisher:
Gotham (2011)

Amazon | An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise.

You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you’re as deluded as the rest of us. But that’s OK- delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion. It’s like a… read more

Models.Behaving.Badly: Why Confusing Illusion with Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life

December 14, 2011

modelsbehavingbadly

Author:
Emanuel Derman
Publisher:
Free Press (2011)

Amazon | Emanuel Derman was a quantitative analyst (Quant) at Goldman Sachs, one of the financial engineers whose mathematical models became crucial for Wall Street. The reliance investors put on such quantitative analysis was catastrophic for the economy, setting off the ongoing string of financial crises that began with the mortgage market in 2007 and continues through today. Here Derman looks at why people — bankers in particular — still put so much… read more

Thinking, Fast and Slow

December 14, 2011

thinkingfastandslow

Author:
Daniel Kahneman
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2011)

Amazon | Drawing on decades of research in psychology that resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Daniel Kahneman takes readers on an exploration of what influences thought example by example, sometimes with unlikely word pairs like “vomit and banana.” System 1 and System 2, the fast and slow types of thinking, become characters that illustrate the psychology behind things we think we understand but really don’t,… read more

Steve Jobs

October 24, 2011

Steve-Jobs-Book

Author:
Walter Isaacson
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster (2011)

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years — as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues — Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital… read more

Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy

October 24, 2011

machinejump3-popup

Author:
Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee
Publisher:
Digital Frontier Press (2011)

Amazon | Why has median income stopped rising in the US? Why is the share of population that is working falling so rapidly? Why are our economy and society are becoming more unequal?

A popular explanation right now is that the root cause underlying these symptoms is technological stagnation — a slowdown in the kinds of ideas and inventions that bring progress and prosperity.

In Race Against theread more

The Children of the Sky

March 28, 2011

Children of the Sky book cover

Author:
Vernor Vinge
Publisher:
Tor Books (2011)

RisingShadow.net | At last, the direct sequel to the Hugo Award–winning bestseller A Fire Upon the Deep! Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred… read more

Better than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves (Philosophy in Action)

February 10, 2014

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Author:
Allen E. Buchanan
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2011)

Is it right to use biomedical technologies to make us better than well or even perhaps better than human? Should we view our biology as fixed or should we try to improve on it? College students are already taking cognitive enhancement drugs. The U.S. army is already working to develop drugs and technologies to produce “super soldiers.” Scientists already know how to use genetic engineering techniques to enhance the… read more

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True

October 4, 2011

Dawkins Final

Author:
Richard Dawkins
Publisher:
Free Press (2011)

Amazon | Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back… read more

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