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Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind

July 16, 2010

Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind

Author:
Hans Moravec
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2000)

Amazon | Here come the free-roaming robot vacuum cleaners, self-driving cars, robot chess champions, robots that fly and swim. If these machine intelligences already tooling around or on the drawing boards leave you blasé, consider this: Robotics pioneer Moravec predicts that if the present exponential growth rate of computing power continues, super-robots that perceive, intuit, adapt, think and even simulate feelings much like human beings will be buildable before… read more

The Spike: How Our Lives Are Being Transformed By Rapidly Advancing Technologies

July 16, 2010

The Spike: How Our Lives Are Being Transformed By Rapidly Advancing Technologies

Author:
Damien Broderick
Publisher:
Tor Books (2001)

Amazon | Is technological change advancing so rapidly that we can no longer chart its progress? Are we careening ever closer to the point that scientists have dubbed “the singularity,” the moment when the pace of innovation will lead to changes so profound that attempting to envision the future becomes an impossible dream? According to Broderick (The Last Mortal Generation; Theory and Its Discontents), the answer is a resounding… read more

2010 State of the Future

July 15, 2010

2010 State of the Future

Author:
Jerome C. Glenn, Theodore J. Gordon
Publisher:
The Millenium Project (2010)

Millennium Project | This “report card on the future” distills the collective intelligence of over 2,700 leading scientists, futurists, scholars, and policy advisors who work for governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations, universities, and international organizations. The 2010 State of the Future comes in two parts: a 83-page print executive summary and an attached CD containing about 7,000 pages of research behind the print edition and the Millennium Project’s 14… 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

Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning

July 14, 2010

Our Final Hour: A Scientist's Warning

Author:
Martin Rees
Publisher:
Basic Books (2004)

Amazon | Nano-machines stand poised to revolutionize technology and medicine, but what happens if these minuscule beasties break their leash and run amok? Rees, the U.K.’s Astronomer Royal and prolific author (Just Six Numbers; Our Cosmic Habitat), warns that the 21st century may well witness the extinction of mankind, a doomsday more likely to be caused by human error than by a natural catastrophe. Bioterrorists are the most widely… read more

On Intelligence

July 14, 2010

On Intelligence

Author:
Jeff Hawkins, Sandra Blakeslee
Publisher:
St. Martin's Griffin (2005)

Amazon | Hawkins designed the technical innovations that make handheld computers like the Palm Pilot ubiquitous. But he also has a lifelong passion for the mysteries of the brain, and he’s convinced that artificial intelligence theorists are misguided in focusing on the limits of computational power rather than on the nature of human thought. He “pops the hood” of the neocortex and carefully articulates a theory of consciousness and… read more

The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It

July 14, 2010

The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It

Author:
Joshua Cooper Ramo
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company (2009)

Amazon | Former foreign editor of Time, Ramo pushes the reader into uncomfortable yet exhilarating places with controversial ways of thinking about global challenges (e.g., studying why Hezbollah is the most efficiently run Islamic militant group). His book, which lays bare the flaws in current thinking on everything from American political influence to the economy, is designed to change the physics of the way we think. Analyzing the failure… read more

The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life

July 14, 2010

The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life

Author:
Ben Sherwood
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing (2010)

Amazon | Sherwood (The Man Who Ate the 747), a writer for the L.A. Times, travels worldwide to gain insight from people who have survived a slew of near fatal phenomena ranging from a mountain lion attack to a Holocaust concentration camp, and interviewing an array of experts to understand the psychology, genetics and jumble of other little things that determines whether we live or die. Readers curious about… read more

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

July 14, 2010

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

Author:
Atul Gawande
Publisher:
Metropolitan Books (2009)

Amazon | That humblest of quality-control devices, the checklist, is the key to taming a high-tech economy, argues this stimulating manifesto. Harvard Medical School prof and New Yorker scribe Gawande (Complications) notes that the high-pressure complexities of modern professional occupations overwhelm even their best-trained practitioners; he argues that a disciplined adherence to essential procedures—by ticking them off a list—can prevent potentially fatal mistakes and corner cutting. He examines checklists… read more

Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet

July 14, 2010

Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who are Bringing Down the Internet

Author:
Joseph Menn
Publisher:
PublicAffairs (2010)

Amazon | In this disquieting cyber thriller, Joseph Menn takes readers into the murky hacker underground, traveling the globe from San Francisco to Costa Rica and London to Russia. His guides are California surfer and computer whiz Barrett Lyon and a fearless British high-tech agent. Through these heroes, Menn shows the evolution of cyber-crime from small-time thieving to sophisticated, organized gangs, who began by attacking corporate websites but increasingly… read more

ID: The Quest for Identity in the 21st Century

July 14, 2010

ID: The Quest for Identity in the 21st Century

Author:
Susan Greenfield
Publisher:
Sceptre (2009)

Amazon | If you’ve ever wondered what effect video games have on your children’s minds or worried about how much private information the government and big companies know about you, ID is essential reading. Professor Susan Greenfield argues persuasively that our individuality is under the microscope as never before; now more then ever we urgently need to look at what we want for ourselves as individuals and for our… read more

Experimental Man: What One Man’s Body Reveals about His Future, Your Health, and Our Toxic World

July 13, 2010

Experimental Man: What One Man's Body Reveals about His Future, Your Health, and Our Toxic World

Author:
David Ewing Duncan
Publisher:
Wiley (2009)

Bestselling author David Ewing Duncan takes the ultimate high-tech medical exam, investigating the future impact of what’s hidden deep inside all of us

David Ewing Duncan takes “guinea pig” journalism to the cutting edge of science, building on award-winning articles he wrote for Wired and National Geographic, in which he was tested for hundreds of chemicals and genes associated with disease, emotions, and other traits. Expanding on these… read more

The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery

July 13, 2010

The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery

Author:
Tony Hey, Stewart Tansley, Kristin Tolle
Publisher:
Microsoft Research (2009)

Amazon | This book presents the first broad look at the rapidly emerging field of data-intensive science, with the goal of influencing the worldwide scientific and computing research communities and inspiring the next generation of scientists. Increasingly, scientific breakthroughs will be powered by advanced computing capabilities that help researchers manipulate and explore massive datasets. The speed at which any given scientific discipline advances will depend on how well its… read more

Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III

July 13, 2010

Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III

Author:
William B. Scott, Michael J. Coumatos, William J. Birnes
Publisher:
Forge Books (2009)

Amazon | In Space Wars, Scott, Coumatos, and Birnes created a fascinating war gaming scenario of how World War III might unfold in above the Earth’s surface.  Now this thrilling team of writers reunites with Counterspace, an even more chilling fictionalized look at America’s most catastrophic fears.

What if North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon in space and silenced dozens of satellites?

What if an Iranian missile… read more

You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto

July 13, 2010

You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier

Author:
Jaron Lanier
Publisher:
Knopf (2010)

Amazon | Computer scientist and Internet guru Lanier’s fascinating and provocative full-length exploration of the Internet’s problems and potential is destined to become a must-read for both critics and advocates of online-based technology and culture. Lanier is best known for creating and pioneering the use of the revolutionary computer technology that he named virtual reality. Yet in his first book, Lanier takes a step back and critiques the… read more

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