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A Computable Universe: Understanding and Exploring Nature as Computation

September 6, 2012
Author:
Hector Zenil
Publisher:
World Scientific Publishing Company (2012)

This volume, with a foreword by Sir Roger Penrose, discusses the foundations of computation in relation to nature.

It focuses on two main questions:

  • What is computation?
  • How does nature compute?

The contributors are world-renowned experts who have helped shape a cutting-edge computational understanding of the universe. They discuss computation in the world from a variety of perspectives, ranging from foundational concepts… read more

Robot Futures

March 20, 2013

Robot Futures

Author:
Illah Reza Nourbakhsh
Publisher:
The MIT Press (2013)

With robots, we are inventing a new species that is part material and part digital. The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking, talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will have superhuman abilities in both the physical and digital realms. They will be embedded in our physical spaces, with the ability to go where we cannot, and will have… read more

The Bequeathal: Godsent

November 27, 2013

THE bequeathal godsent

Author:
Zoran Jevtic
Publisher:
Netherworld Books (2013)

About The Bequeathal: Godsent. In a post-crash, rebooted world, Eugene Reece is one of the billions of pre-indebted citizens whose lives are augmented by the virtualized intellects of the deceased. If anything, his stats tag him average, though a notch more disillusioned and a degree less spirited than the next, permanently connected individual but his surplus dose of ironic self-derision makes him slightly discrepant.

The tedium of Eugene’s drudge… 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

9780393082104_SpaceChronicles_JKT.indd

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 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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