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The Turing Test: Verbal Behavior as the Hallmark of Intelligence

January 8, 2014

TheTuringTest

Author:
Stuart M. Shieber
Publisher:
A Bradford Book (2004)

The Turing Test is part of the vocabulary of popular culture — it has appeared in works ranging from the Broadway play “Breaking the Code” to the comic strip “Robotman.” The writings collected by Stuart Shieber for this book examine the profound philosophical issues surrounding the Turing Test as a criterion for intelligence.

Alan Turing’s idea, originally expressed in a 1950 paper titled “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” and… read more

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

April 10, 2014

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Author:
Jeremy Rifkin
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (2014)

In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism.

Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but is now taking it to its… read more

Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines

April 9, 2009
Author:
Robert A. Freitas Jr., Ralph C. Merkle
Publisher:
Landes Bioscience (2004)

This book offers a general review of the voluminous theoretical and experimental literature pertaining to physical self-replicating systems and self-replication. The principal focus here is on self-replicating machine systems. Most importantly, we are concerned with kinematic self-replicating machines: systems in which actual physical objects, not mere patterns of information, undertake their own replication.

Following a brief burst of activity in the 1950s and 1980s, the field… read more

The Greatest Science Stories Never Told: 100 tales of invention and discovery to astonish, bewilder, and stupefy

April 3, 2010

the greatest science stories

Author:
Rick Beyer
Publisher:
Harper (2009)

Amazon | Rick Beyer is a lifelong history enthusiast and an award-winning documentary producer whose work for The History Channel® includes Godspeed to Jamestown, The Wright Challenge, and the Timelab 2000 series of history minutes.

100 tales of invention and discovery:

  • Meet the angry undertaker who gave us the push-button phone.
  • Discover how modesty led to the invention of the stethoscope.
  • Find out why

read more

More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement

July 16, 2010

More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement

Author:
Ramez Naam
Publisher:
Broadway (2005)

Amazon | Imagine a person severely disabled by a stroke who, with electrodes implanted in his brain, can type on a computer just by thinking of the letters. Or a man, blind for 20 years, driving a car around a parking lot via a camera hard-wired into his brain. Plots for science fiction? No, it’s already happened, according to future technologies expert Naam. In an excellent and comprehensive survey,… read more

An Optimist’s Tour of the Future

January 7, 2011

An Optimist's Tour of the Future book cover

Author:
Mark Stevenson
Publisher:
Profile (2011)

Amazon | Mark Stevenson has been to the future a few years ahead of the rest of us — and reckons it has a lot going for it. His voyage of discovery takes him to Oxford to meet Transhumanists (they intend to live forever), to Boston where he confronts a robot with mood swings, to an underwater cabinet meeting in the Indian Ocean, and Australia to question the… read more

Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality

February 23, 2011

virtually you

Author:
Elias Aboujaoude
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

 

Amazon | A penetrating examination of the insidious effects of the Internet on our personalities — online and off. Whether sharing photos or following financial markets, many of us spend a shocking amount of time online. While the Internet can enhance well-being, Elias Aboujaoude has spent years treating patients whose lives have been profoundly disturbed by it.

Part of the danger lies in how the Internet allows us… 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

First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began

June 7, 2011

First Life book cover

Author:
David Deamer
Publisher:
University of California Press (2011)

Amazon | This pathbreaking book explores how life can begin, taking us from cosmic clouds of stardust, to volcanoes on Earth, to the modern chemistry laboratory. Seeking to understand life’s connection to the stars, David Deamer introduces astrobiology, a new scientific discipline that studies the origin and evolution of life on Earth and relates it to the birth and death of stars, planet formation, interfaces between minerals,… read more

Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong

December 28, 2011

moral

Author:
Wendell Wallach, Colin Allen
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2010)

Amazon | Computers are already approving financial transactions, controlling electrical supplies, and driving trains. Soon, service robots will be taking care of the elderly in their homes, and military robots will have their own targeting and firing protocols. Colin Allen and Wendell Wallach argue that as robots take on more and more responsibility, they must be programmed with moral decision-making abilities, for our own safety. Taking a fast… read more

Neural Networks and Analog Computation: Beyond the Turing Limit

April 9, 2012

neuralnetworksandanalogcomputation

Author:
Hava T. Siegelmann
Publisher:
Birkhäuser Boston (1998)

Amazon | The theoretical foundations of Neural Networks and Analog Computation conceptualize neural networks as a particular type of computer consisting of multiple assemblies of basic processors interconnected in an intricate structure. Examining these networks under various resource constraints reveals a continuum of computational devices, several of which coincide with well-known classical models. On a mathematical level, the treatment of neural computations enriches the theory of computation but also… read more

How To Save Jobs: Reinventing Business, Reinvigorating Work, and Reawakening the American Dream

August 11, 2012

howtosavejobscover-270w

Author:
David Gewirtz
Publisher:
ZATZ Publishing (2010)

The mission of How To Save Jobs is to help America create 20 to 30 million new jobs in the next five years. It’s ambitious, but necessary.

The How To Save Jobs book starts by answering the question, “How did we get here?” The answer to that question provides a shocking and disturbing look into how changes worldwide have created enormous disruption in the very nature… read more

Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will

October 20, 2012

hacking_your_education

Author:
Dale J. Stephens
Publisher:
Perigee Trade (2013)

It’s no secret that college doesn’t prepare students for the real world. Student loan debt recently eclipsed credit card debt for the first time in history and now tops 1 trillion dollars. And the throngs of unemployed graduates chasing the same jobs makes us wonder whether there’s a better way to “make it” in today’s marketplace.

There is — and Dale Stephens is proof of… read more

Zendegi

November 27, 2012

zendegi_350

Author:
Greg Egan
Publisher:
Night Shade Books (2011)

In the near future, journalist Martin Seymour travels to Iran to cover the parliamentary elections. Most would-be opposition candidates are disqualified and the election becomes the non-event the world expects. But shortly afterward a compromising image of a government official captured on a mobile phone triggers a revolutionary movement that overthrows the old theocracy.

Nasim Golestani, a young Iranian scientist living in exile in the United States, is hoping… read more

Brave New World

December 18, 2013

BraveNewWorld_FirstEdition

Author:
Aldous Huxley
Publisher:
Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2006)

A towering classic of dystopian satire, BRAVE NEW WORLD is a brilliant and terrifying vision of a soulless society—and of one man who discovers the human costs of mindless conformity.

Hundreds of years in the future, the World Controllers have created an ideal civilization. Its members, shaped by genetic engineering and behavioral conditioning, are productive and content in roles they have been assigned at conception. Government-sanctioned drugs and recreational… read more

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