bookshelf by year

Almost Human: Making Robots Think

March 22, 2010

almost_human

author |
Lee Gutkind
year published |
2009

American Library Assoc. | Creative nonfiction guru and seasoned immersion journalist Gutkind observes that just as computers changed the world in the 1990s, robots will “transform technology” in the future. To find out who is behind the growing robotic surge, Gutkind spent six years observing life at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, a “hypertechnological pressure cooker,” where work is frenzied, frustrating, “inspiring, compelling,” and addictive.

Gutkind presents vivid… read more

Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

July 16, 2010

Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

author |
Bill McKibben
year published |
2004

Amazon | In 1989, McKibben published The End of Nature, a gorgeously written and galvanizing book about the true cost of global warming, the destruction of the ozone layer and other man-made ills-the loss of wild nature and with it the priceless aspect of our humanity that evolved to listen to and heed it. Now McKibben applies the same passion, scholarship and free-ranging thought to a subject that even… read more

The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future

September 13, 2010

thelightsinthetunnel

author |
Martin Ford
year published |
2009

Amazon | What will the economy of the future look like? Where will advancing technology, job automation, outsourcing and globalization lead?

Is it possible that accelerating computer technology was a primary cause of the current global economic crisis–and that even more disruptive impacts lie ahead?

This groundbreaking book by Silicon Valley computer engineer and entrepreneur, Martin Ford, explores these questions and shows how accelerating technology… read more

Mapping the Mind: Revised and Updated Edition

January 7, 2011

Mapping the Mind Book Cover

author |
Rita Carter
year published |
2010

Amazon | Today a brain scan reveals our thoughts and moods as clearly as an X-ray reveals our bones. We can actually observe a person’s brain registering a joke or experiencing a painful memory. In Mapping the Mind, award-winning journalist Rita Carter draws on the latest imaging technology and science to chart how human behavior and personality reflect the biological mechanisms behind thought and emotion. This acclaimed book,… read more

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

February 22, 2011

Biocentrism Cover Image

author |
Robert Lanza, Bob Berman
year published |
2010

Amazon | Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world — a U.S. News & World Report cover story called him a “genius” and a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe.

Every now and then a simple yet… 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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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
year published |
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

The Society of Mind

January 21, 2014

The-Society-of-Mind2

author |
Marvin Minsky
year published |
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

Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World

August 26, 2015

Innovation

author |
Kim Chandler McDonald
year published |
2013

Businesses looking to succeed in the digital, global economy must innovate to survive, and !nnovation highlights the pioneers who have broken the mold and led the pack in a wide  range of fields (including business and technology, engineering and energy, government and social policy, the arts and advertising, media, medicine and more).  Innovation expert, Kim Chandler McDonald underlines the common denominators linking these highly creative people, such as their compunction to… read more

The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

January 25, 2016

the-big-picture-cover

author |
Sean Carroll
year published |
2016

*A Publishers Weekly Top 10 New Science Release of 2016*

Does human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview?

Already internationally acclaimed for his elegant, lucid writing on the most challenging notions in modern physics, Sean Carroll is emerging as one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation as he brings his extraordinary intellect to bear not only on Higgs bosons and extra dimensions but… read more

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