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The Naked Future: What Happens in a World that Anticipates Your Every Move?

March 8, 2014
Author:
Patrick Tucker
Publisher:
Penguin (2014)

“Patrick Tucker’s thought-provoking, eye-opening, and highly entertaining book The Naked Future skillfully illustrates how the intelligent analysis of big data is allowing us to see into the future with ever-increasing precision.” — Ray Kurzweil

Right now the power of big data is in the hands of those mega-institutions inside the cryptic vaults of the NSA, the pioneers of Silicon Valley, and at the fingertips of Madison Avenue.… read more

Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread — The Lessons from a New Science

March 7, 2014

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Author:
Alex Pentland
Publisher:
Penguin Press HC, The (2014)

From one of the world’s leading data scientists, a landmark tour ofthe new science of idea flow, offering revolutionary insights into the mysteries of collective intelligence and social influence

If the Big Data revolution has a presiding genius, it is MIT’s Alex “Sandy” Pentland. Over years of groundbreaking experiments, he has distilled remarkable discoveries significant enough to become the bedrock of a whole new scientific field: social physics.… read more

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know

February 26, 2014

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Author:
P. W. Singer
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2014)

A generation ago, “cyberspace” was just a term from science fiction, used to describe the nascent network of computers linking a few university labs. Today, our entire modern way of life, from communication to commerce to conflict, fundamentally depends on the Internet. And the cybersecurity issues that result challenge literally everyone: politicians wrestling with everything from cybercrime to online freedom; generals protecting the nation from new forms of attack,… read more

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance

February 24, 2014

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Author:
Julia Angwin
Publisher:
Times Books (2014)

An inside look at who’s watching you, what they know and why it matters. We are being watched.

We see online ads from websites we’ve visited, long after we’ve moved on to other interests. Our smartphones and cars transmit our location, enabling us to know what’s in the neighborhood but also enabling others to track us. And the federal government, we recently learned, has been conducting a massive… read more

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30)

February 21, 2014

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Author:
Mark Bauerlein
Publisher:
Tarcher (2008)

For decades, concern has been brewing about the dumbed-down popular culture of young people and the impact it has on their futures.

The dawn of the digital age once aroused our hopes: the Internet, e-mail, blogs, and interactive and ultra-realistic video games promised to yield a generation of sharper, more aware, and intellectually sophisticated children. The terms “information superhighway” and “knowledge economy” entered the lexicon, and we assumed… read more

Things that Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine

February 21, 2014

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Author:
Donald A. Norman
Publisher:
Basic Books (1994)

Amazon | In Things that Make Us Smart, Donald A. Norman explores the complex interaction between human thought and the technology it creates, arguing for the development of machines that fit our minds, rather than minds that must conform to the machine. Humans have always worked with objects to extend our cognitive powers, from counting on our fingers to designing massive supercomputers.

But advanced technology does more than… read more

Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

February 20, 2014

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Author:
Stanislas Dehaene
Publisher:
Viking Adult (2014)

A breathtaking look at the new science that can track consciousness deep in the brain

How does our brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other… read more

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

February 17, 2014

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Author:
Elizabeth Kolbert
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (2014)

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most… 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

Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies

January 30, 2014

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Author:
Russell Blackford
Publisher:
The MIT Press (2013)

Emerging biotechnologies that manipulate human genetic material have drawn a chorus of objections from politicians, pundits, and scholars. In Humanity Enhanced, Russell Blackford eschews the heated rhetoric that surrounds genetic enhancement technologies to examine them in the context of liberal thought, discussing the public policy issues they raise from legal and political perspectives.

Some see the possibility of genetic choice as challenging the values of liberal democracy. Blackford… read more

Personality Capture and Emulation

January 22, 2014

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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

America’s Space Futures: Defining Goals for Space Exploration

January 22, 2014

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Author:
Eric R. Sterner
Publisher:
BookBaby (2013)

America’s Space Futures is an important contribution to the ongoing debate about space policy, the American space program, and the human destiny in space.

It lays out alternative paradigms and frameworks for assessing America’s future in space and how different visions would require changes to America’s current approach to space development and exploration.

Since the end of the Apollo program in the 1970s, the U.S. civil space… read more

The Society of Mind

January 21, 2014

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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

Brain-Computer Interfacing: An Introduction

January 21, 2014

Brain-Computer Interfacing

Author:
Rajesh P. N. Rao
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press (2013)

The idea of interfacing minds with machines has long captured the human imagination. Recent advances in neuroscience and engineering are making this a reality, opening the door to restoring and potentially augmenting human physical and mental capabilities. Medical applications such as cochlear implants for the deaf and deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease are becoming increasingly commonplace. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) (also known as brain-machine interfaces or BMIs) are now… read more

The Techno-Human Shell: A Jump in the Evolutionary Gap

January 20, 2014

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Author:
Joseph Carvalko
Publisher:
Sunbury Press (2013)

Medical technology now verges on incorporating computers with the computational power of the famous Watson IBM computer and Internet-like communications directly into our anatomy.

As the size and complexity of computers spiral downward, the wholesale use of these devices (as well as RFID-type technology) will become as common as a present vaccine. These initiatives will extend lifetimes, keep us younger longer and enhance our intelligence.

Related to… read more

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