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Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality

June 7, 2011

Iron Man and Philosophy book cover

Author:
Mark D. White, William Irwin
Publisher:
Wiley (2010)

Amazon | The first look at the philosophy behind the Iron Man comics and movies, timed for the release of Iron Man 2 in March 2010.

On the surface, Iron Man appears to be a straightforward superhero, another rich guy fighting crime with fancy gadgets. But beneath the shiny armor and flashy technology lies Tony Stark, brilliant inventor and eccentric playboy, struggling to balance his desires, addictions, and relationships… read more

100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith

July 14, 2011

100 Plus book cover

Author:
Sonia Arrison
Publisher:
Basic Books (2011)

Amazon | Humanity is on the cusp of an exciting longevity revolution. The first person to live to 150 years has probably already been born.

What will your life look like when you live to be over 100? Will you be healthy? Will your marriage need a sunset clause? How long will you have to work? Will you finish one career at sixty-five only to go… 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

Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies

March 27, 2012

culturinglife

Author:
Hannah Landecker
Publisher:
Harvard University Press (2007)

Amazon | How did cells make the journey, one we take so much for granted, from their origin in living bodies to something that can be grown and manipulated on artificial media in the laboratory, a substantial biomass living outside a human body, plant, or animal? This is the question at the heart of Hannah Landecker’s book. She shows how cell culture changed the way we think about such central… read more

Moonrush: Improving Life on Earth with the Moon’s Resources: Apogee Books Space Series 43

February 10, 2013

Moonrush

Author:
Dennis Wingo
Publisher:
Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc. (2004)

This forward-thinking book examines how the exploration of space may eventually transform the global economy.

Recently, the World Wildlife Federation declared that it would take the equivalent of two more Earth’s to sustain our planetary population at the level of affluence that the western world enjoys. Today we live in a world of six billion people who are gobbling up our planet’s resources at a tremendous and accelerating… read more

Upload

May 20, 2013

Upload

Author:
Mark McClelland
Publisher:
lulu.com (2012)

His criminal past catching up with him, a troubled young man seeks escape into digital utopia by uploading his consciousness into a computer — just as his first love casts his life in a new light. In this thrilling near-future science-fiction novel, Mark McClelland explores the immense potential of computer-based consciousness and the philosophical perils of simulated society.

Kindle version also available at this link

Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking

August 5, 2013

Dennett-Intuition pumps

Author:
Daniel Dennett
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2013)

One of the world’s leading philosophers offers aspiring thinkers his personal trove of mind-stretching thought experiments.

Over a storied career, Daniel C. Dennett has engaged questions about science and the workings of the mind. His answers have combined rigorous argument with strong empirical grounding. And a lot of fun.

Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking offers 77 of Dennett’s most successful “imagination-extenders and focus-holders” meant to guide… read more

The Society of Mind

January 21, 2014

The-Society-of-Mind2

Author:
Marvin Minsky
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster (1987)

Marvin Minsky — one of the fathers of computer science and cofounder of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT — gives a revolutionary answer to the age-old question: “How does the mind work?”

Minsky brilliantly portrays the mind as a “society” of tiny components that are themselves mindless. Mirroring his theory, Minsky boldly casts The Society of Mind as an intellectual puzzle whose pieces are assembled along the way. Each… read more

Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human

April 9, 2009
Author:
Joel Garreau
Publisher:
Doubleday (2005)

Washington Post reporter Garreau takes readers on a cross-country trip into the future as he interviews scientists and other thinkers grappling with the implications of our newfound—and, to some, frightening—knowledge of the genome. Highlighting what he calls “the Curve”—the rate of exponential change in technology—Garreau (Edge City: Life on the New Frontier) breaks the central part of his book into four scenarios. In “Heaven,” genetic engineering will… read more

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis

July 8, 2010

The Empathic Civilization cover

Author:
Jeremy Rifkin
Publisher:
Tarcher (2009)

Amazon | Never has the world seemed so completely united-in the form of communication, commerce, and culture-and so savagely torn apart-in the form of war, financial meltdown, global warming, and even the migration of diseases.

No matter how much we put our minds to the task of meeting the challenges of a rapidly globalizing world, the human race seems to continually come up short, unable to muster the… read more

Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness

July 16, 2010

Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness

Author:
Roger Penrose
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (1996)

Amazon | A leading critic of artificial intelligence research returns to the attack, attempting to lay the groundwork for an analysis of the true nature of intelligence. Building on his arguments in The Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose (Mathematics/Oxford) begins by refuting the assertion that true intelligence can be attained–or even adequately simulated–by the strictly computational means to which current computers are ultimately limited. Much of his argument depends closely… read more

After the Software Wars

November 16, 2010

afterthesoftwarewars

Author:
Keith Cary Curtis
Publisher:
Keithcu Press (2009)

Keithcu Press | Given currently available technology, we should already have cars that drive us around in absolute safety, leaving us to lounge comfortably in the back while sipping champagne. We have all the hardware — the video cameras, motion sensors and high powered computers — and we’ve had this technology for decades. So why don’t cars drive themselves?

The answer is that we don’t have the software.… read more

Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots

February 3, 2011

absolutebeginnersguide

Author:
Gareth Branwyn
Publisher:
Que (2003)

If you have an interest in robotics, but not sure how to get started, this could be the right book to get past that hurdle. It covers basic skills like soldering and programming, and steps you through how to build three simple robots.  The reader is gently led through an easy to follow robot building procedure with a list and photo of the parts needed to build the… read more

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

March 11, 2011

Physics of the Future book cover

Author:
Michio Kaku
Publisher:
Doubleday (2011)

Publisher’s Weekly | Kaku (Physics of the Impossible), a professor of physics at the CUNY Graduate Center, gathers ideas from more than 300 experts, scientists, and researchers at the cutting edge of their fields, to offer a glimpse of what the next 100 years may bring. The predictions all conform to certain ground rules (e.g., “Prototypes of all technologies mentioned… already exist”), and some seem obvious (computer chips… read more

Consciousness in the Universe: Quantum Physics, Evolution, Brain & Mind

May 5, 2011

Consciousness in the Universe book cover

Author:
Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff
Publisher:
Cosmology Science Publishers (2011)

Amazon | Is consciousness an epiphenomenal happenstance of this particular universe? Or does the very concept of a universe depend upon its presence? Does consciousness merely perceive reality, or does reality depend upon it? Did consciousness simply emerge as an effect of evolution? Or was it, in some sense, always out there in the world?

Topics:

  • Evolution and origin of consciousness
  • Consciousness and quantum

read more

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