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Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning

July 14, 2010

Our Final Hour: A Scientist's Warning

Author:
Martin Rees
Publisher:
Basic Books (2004)

Amazon | Nano-machines stand poised to revolutionize technology and medicine, but what happens if these minuscule beasties break their leash and run amok? Rees, the U.K.’s Astronomer Royal and prolific author (Just Six Numbers; Our Cosmic Habitat), warns that the 21st century may well witness the extinction of mankind, a doomsday more likely to be caused by human error than by a natural catastrophe. Bioterrorists are the most widely… read more

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era

May 29, 2013

AI and the end

Author:
James Barrat
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books (2013)

Artificial Intelligence helps choose what books you buy, what movies you see, and even who you date. It puts the “smart” in your smart phone, it has the run of your house, and soon it will drive your car. It makes most of the trades on Wall Street, and controls vital energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. But Artificial Intelligence can also threaten our existence.

Though primitive today, ‘intelligent’ computer… read more

Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality

January 8, 2014

book_our_mathematical_universe

Author:
Max Tegmark
Publisher:
Knopf (2014)

Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind—boggling theories, but he also… read more

Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution

July 16, 2010

Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution

Author:
Francis Fukuyama
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2002)

Amazon | Fukuyama (The End of History and the Last Man; Trust) is no stranger to controversial theses, and here he advances two: that there are sound nonreligious reasons to put limits on biotechnology, and that such limits can be enforced. Fukuyama argues that “the most significant threat” from biotechnology is “the possibility that it will alter human nature and thereby move us into a ‘posthuman’ stage of history.”… read more

Our Uncertain Future: When Digital Evolution, Global Warming and Automation Converge

November 12, 2013

Our Uncertain Future

Author:
David M Mills Ph.D.
Publisher:
Pacific Beach Publishing (2013)

There are many different predictions about our future.  Some experts predict an incredible future propelled by digital technology and other advances, others predict destruction due to climate change, yet others predict automation will cause massive unemployment and economic collapse.  We have been told of advantages and warned of dangers of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and other technologies.  Each author has largely ignored the other points of view.  But, there can be only… read more

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live

August 21, 2013

Paleofantasy

Author:
Marlene Zuk
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2013)

An exposé of pseudoscientific myths about our evolutionary past and how we should live today.

We evolved to eat berries rather than bagels, to live in mud huts rather than condos, to sprint barefoot rather than play football—or did we? Are our bodies and brains truly at odds with modern life? Although it may seem as though we have barely had time to shed our hunter-gatherer legacy, biologist… read more

Pardon the Disruption: The Future You Never Saw Coming

December 18, 2013

Pardon_the_disruption_book

Author:
Clayton R. Rawlings, James Randall Smith, Rob Bencini
Publisher:
Wasteland Press (2013)

Pardon The Disruption high-lights the exponential advances in technology that have disrupted the legal system and the economy over time – but those changes will pale in comparison to what is about to occur! The book is written in two parts: the first part discusses the effect – past and projected future – on the legal system; the second part, on the economy. The two come together in a conclusive… read more

Pathways to the Future: The Robot Revolt

May 29, 2014

cover

Author:
David Mills
Publisher:
Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (2014)

Sandra Lightning was a hybrid: part computer, all woman. Her job: secretly penetrate the largest robot manufacturing company on Earth, use her unique talents to spy on them, find out what secret plans they are fermenting and investigate the role of their robots in several mysterious deaths.

Sandra is joined by Denver Smith, forced to leave his comfortable niche as a graduate student when his life is threatened.… 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

Permutation City

August 6, 2010

Permutation City

Author:
Greg Egan
Publisher:
Eos (1995)

Amazon | The good news is that you have just awakened into Eternal Life. You are going to live forever. Immortality is a reality. A medical miracle? Not exactly.

The bad news is that you are a scrap of electronic code. The world you see around you, the you that is seeing it, has been digitized, scanned, and downloaded into a virtual reality program. You are a Copy… read more

Personality Capture and Emulation

January 22, 2014

Personality-Capture

Author:
William Sims Bainbridge
Publisher:
Springer (2014)

Personality Capture and Emulation is the gateway to an amazing future that actually may be achieved, enabling the preservation and simulation of human personalities at progressively higher levels of fidelity.

This challenge is no longer the province merely of uninhibited visionaries, but has become a solid field of research, drawing upon a wide range of information technologies in human-centered computing and cyber-human systems.

Even at modest levels of… read more

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

July 20, 2010

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

Author:
V. S. Ramachandran, Sandra Blakeslee, Oliver Sacks
Publisher:
Harper Perennial (1999)

In these unsettling tales from a neuroscientist every bit as quirky as the more famous Oliver Sacks, Ramachandran sets out his beliefs that no matter how bizarre the case, empirical, strikingly simple testing can illuminate the ways brain circuitry establishes “self.” In a chatty, nearly avuncular style, he (along with his coauthor, a New York Times science writer) snatches territory from philosophers on how we think we know what… read more

Physics and Technology for Future Presidents: An Introduction to the Essential Physics Every World Leader Needs to Know

October 5, 2011

Physics-and-Technology-for-Future-Presidents-9780691135045

Author:
Richard A. Muller
Publisher:
Princeton University Press (2010)

Amazon | Physics and Technology for Future Presidents contains the essential physics that students need in order to understand today’s core science and technology issues, and to become the next generation of world leaders. From the physics of energy to climate change, and from spy technology to quantum computers, this is the only textbook to focus on the modern physics affecting the decisions of political leaders and CEOs… read more

Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

October 5, 2011

physicsforpresidents

Author:
Richard A. Muller
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2008)

Amazon | Learn the science behind the headlines — the tools of terrorists, the dangers of nuclear power, and the reality of global warming. We live in complicated, dangerous times. They are also hyper-technical times.

As citizens who will elect future presidents of the most powerful and influential country in the world, we need to know — truly understand, not just rely on television’s talking heads — if Iran’s… read more

Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain

January 28, 2013

Physics in Mind

Author:
Werner Loewenstein
Publisher:
Basic Books (2013)

No one can escape a sense of awe when reflecting on the workings of the mind: we see, we hear, we feel, we are aware of the world around us. But what is the mind? What do we mean when we say we are “aware” of something? What is this peculiar state in our heads, at once utterly familiar and bewilderingly mysterious, that we call awareness or consciousness?… read more

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