bookshelf by year

Post- and Transhumanism: An Introduction

March 23, 2015

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author |
Robert Ranisch, Stefan Lorenz Sorgner
year published |
2014

Scientific advances in genetics, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence signal the end of our traditional concept of the human being. The most vigorous movements dealing with this ongoing crisis of humanism are posthumanism and transhumanism. While posthumanism reconsiders what it means to be human, transhumanism actively promotes human enhancement. Both approaches address the posthuman condition in the technological age. In 20 articles, written by leading scholars of the field, this… read more

The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business

February 4, 2013

The New Digital Age

author |
Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen
year published |
2013

In an unparalleled collaboration, two leading global thinkers in technology and foreign affairs give us their widely anticipated, transformational vision of the future: a world where everyone is connected—a world full of challenges and benefits that are ours to meet and to harness.

Eric Schmidt is one of Silicon Valley’s great leaders, having taken Google from a small startup to one of the world’s most influential… read more

Looking Backward: 2050-2013

July 30, 2013

Looking Backward

author |
Ravi Morey
year published |
2013

Picture the United States in the year 2025, desperately hobbled by a financial crisis brought on by a tax slicing Republican president. Imagine the country making a plaintive appeal to a newly democratized China to save itself from utter obsolescence. It could just happen, and what’s more, America may just come to like it. Looking Backward:2050-2011 is the prescient, provocative work of political fiction that envisions a new map… read more

Now: The Physics of Time

March 4, 2016

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author |
Richard A. Muller
year published |
2016

A monumental work on the flow of time, from the universe’s creation to “now,” by the best-selling author of Physics for Future Presidents.

“Now” is a simple concept―you’re reading this sentence now. Yet a real definition of “now” has eluded even the great Einstein. We know that time stretches and is affected by gravity and velocity. Yet, as eminent physicist Richard A. Muller points out, it is only… read more

How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival

June 17, 2011

How the Hippies Saved Physics book cover

author |
David Kaiser
year published |
2011

Amazon | The surprising story of eccentric young scientists who stood up to convention — and changed the face of modern physics.

Today, quantum information theory is among the most exciting scientific frontiers, attracting billions of dollars in funding and thousands of talented researchers. But as MIT physicist and historian David Kaiser reveals, this cutting-edge field has a surprisingly psychedelic past. How the Hippies Saved Physics introduces us to… read more

Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I.

June 8, 2001

Are We Spiritual Machines

author |
Jay W. Richards, Ray Kurzweil, George Gilder
year published |
2001

Computers are becoming more powerful at an ever-increasing rate, but will they ever become conscious? Artificial intelligence guru Ray Kurzweil thinks so and explains how we will “download” our software (our minds) and “upgrade” our hardware (our bodies) to become immortal — before the dawn of the 22nd century.

In this debate with his critics, including several Discovery Institute fellows, Kurzweil defends his views and sets the stage… read more

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World

October 15, 2012

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World

author |
James D. Miller
year published |
2012

Where will you be in a singular world?

In Ray Kurzweil’s New York Times bestseller The Singularity is Near, the futurist and entrepreneur describes the singularity, a likely future utterly different than anything we can imagine. The singularity is triggered by the tremendous growth of human and computing intelligence that is an almost inevitable outcome of Moore’s Law.

Since the book’s publication, the coming of singularity is now eagerly anticipated… read more

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

November 26, 2012

The Demon-Haunted World

author |
Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan
year published |
1997

“A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”
*Los Angeles Times

“POWERFUL . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing.”
*The Washington Post Book World

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives… read more

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

March 15, 2013

Present Shock

author |
Douglas Rushkoff
year published |
2013

This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, explains award-winning media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we don’t seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed re­ality that our human bodies and minds can never truly in­habit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.

People… read more

The Hanson-Yudkowsky AI-Foom Debate

September 11, 2013

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author |
Robin Hanson, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
year published |
2013

In late 2008, economist Robin Hanson and AI theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky conducted an online debate about the future of artificial intelligence, and in particular about whether generally intelligent AIs will be able to improve their own capabilities very quickly (a.k.a. “foom”). The original debate took place in a long series of blog posts, which are collected here. This book also includes a transcript of a 2011 in-person debate between… read more

The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good

July 19, 2011

The Compass of Pleasure book cover

author |
David J. Linden
year published |
2011

Amazon | A leading brain scientist’s look at the neurobiology of pleasure-and how pleasures can become addictions.

Whether eating, taking drugs, engaging in sex, or doing good deeds, the pursuit of pleasure is a central drive of the human animal. In The Compass of Pleasure Johns Hopkins neuroscientist David J. Linden explains how pleasure affects us at the most fundamental level: in our brain.

As he… read more

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation

November 11, 2013

Average is Over

author |
Tyler Cowen
year published |
2013

Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s most influential economists, Tyler Cowen returns with his groundbreaking follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Great Stagnation.

The widening gap between rich and poor means dealing with one big, uncomfortable truth: If you’re not at the top, you’re at the bottom.

The global labor market is changing radically thanks to growth at the high end — and the low. About three… read more

The Fourth Transformation

December 15, 2016

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author |
Robert Scoble, Shel Israel
year published |
2016

Ten years from today, the center of our digital lives will no longer be the smart phone, but device that looks like ordinary eyeglasses: except those glasses will have settings for Virtual and Augmented Reality. What you really see and what is computer generated will be mixed so tightly together, that we won’t really be able to tell what is real and what is illusion.
Instead of touching and… read more

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

April 7, 2014

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author |
Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
year published |
2014

From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business—sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath.

Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve… read more

The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind

September 17, 2013

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author |
Michio Kaku
year published |
2014

The New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible, Physics of the Future and Hyperspace tackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.

For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping… read more

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