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Positioning Synthetic Biology to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century: Summary Report of a Six Academies Symposium Series (2013)

August 15, 2013

positioni;ng_synthetic_biology

Author:
Stephanie Joyce, Anne-Marie Mazza, Steven Kendall
Publisher:
National Research Council (2013)

Synthetic biology — unlike any research discipline that precedes it — has the potential to bypass the less predictable process of evolution to usher in a new and dynamic way of working with living systems.

Ultimately, synthetic biologists hope to design and build engineered biological systems with capabilities that do not exist in natural systems — capabilities that may ultimately be used for applications in manufacturing, food production, and… read more

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

November 11, 2013

Average is Over

Author:
Tyler Cowen
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (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 Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet

April 18, 2013

Infinite_Resource_Cover

Author:
Ramez Naam
Publisher:
UPNE (2013)

“Brilliant” — Ray Kurzweil

“This book contains a plan – probably the only plan – to save the world.” — Steven Pinker

Climate change. Finite fossil fuels. Fresh water depletion. Rising commodity prices. Ocean acidification. Overpopulation. Deforestation. Feeding the world’s billions.

We’re beset by an array of natural resource and environmental challenges. They pose a tremendous risk to human prosperity, to world peace, and to the planet… read more

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

July 9, 2013

Social Why Our brains are wired to connect

Author:
Matthew D. Lieberman
Publisher:
Crown (2013)

We are profoundly social creatures – more than we know.

In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter.  Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world – other people and our relation to them. It is… read more

The Hanson-Yudkowsky AI-Foom Debate

September 11, 2013

the hanson_yudkowsky

Author:
Robin Hanson, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Publisher:
Machine Intelligence Research Institute (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 Singularity Is Near

August 5, 2009
Author:
Ray Kurzweil
Publisher:
Viking Press (2006)

Viking Press | In The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Ray Kurzweil presents the next stage of his compelling view of the future: the merging of humans and machines. Kurzweil refers to this as “the singularity,” and describes it as “…a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed.”

In… read more

The Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success

August 21, 2013

The Chaos Imperative

Author:
Ori Brafman, Judah Pollack
Publisher:
Crown Business (2013)

In the bestselling tradition of Switch and Made to Stick, Ori Brafman reveals how organizations can drive growth and profits by allowing contained chaos and disruption the space to flourish, generating new ideas that trigger innovation.

In The Chaos Imperative, organizational expert and bestselling author Ori Brafman (SwayThe Starfish and the Spider) shows how even the best and most efficient organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to today’s US Army, benefit from allowing… read more

The Brain Supremacy: Notes from the Frontiers of Neuroscience

November 1, 2012

The Brain Supremacy

Author:
Kathleen Taylor
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2012)

Advances in physics, chemistry and other natural sciences have given us extraordinary control over our world. But today the balance of power in the sciences is changing, as research on the brain and mind has produced important breakthroughs in our understanding of ourselves and of our environment. As a result, funding and researchers are pouring into the field of neuroscience.

The Brain Supremacy is a lucid and rational guide… read more

The Book of Immortality

September 11, 2013

TheBookofImmortality

Author:
Adam Leith Gollner
Publisher:
Doubleday Canada (2013)

What have we not done to live forever? Adam Leith Gollner, the critically acclaimed author of The Fruit Hunters, weaves together religion, science, and mythology in a gripping exploration of the most universal of human obsessions: immortality.

Raised without religion, Adam Leith Gollner was struck by mankind’s tireless efforts to cheat aging and death. In a narrative that pivots between profundity and hilarity, he brings us into the world of… read more

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t

November 26, 2012

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Author:
Nate Silver
Publisher:
The Penguin Press HC (2012)

“Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century.”
—Rachel Maddow, author of Drift

Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger—all by the time he was thirty.The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters.… read more

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

June 2, 2014

superintelligence

Author:
Nick Bostrom
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2014)

Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general… read more

Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human

September 5, 2014

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Author:
David Roden
Publisher:
Routledge (2014)

We imagine posthumans as humans made superhumanly intelligent or resilient by future advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science. Many argue that these enhanced people might live better lives; others fear that tinkering with our nature will undermine our sense of our own humanity. Whoever is right, it is assumed that our technological successor will be an upgraded or degraded version of us: Human 2.0.

Posthuman Liferead more

Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Are Next to Worthless, and You Can Do Better

April 4, 2011

Future Babble book cover

Author:
Dan Gardner
Publisher:
Dutton Adult (2011)

Amazon | An award-winning journalist uses landmark research to debunk the whole expert prediction industry, and explores the psychology of our obsession with future history.

In 2008, experts predicted gas would hit $20 a gallon; it peaked at $4.10. In 1967, they said the USSR would be the world’s fastest-growing economy by 2000; by 2000, the USSR no longer existed. In 1908, it was pronounced that… read more

Bankrupting Physics: How Today’s Top Scientists are Gambling Away Their Credibility

September 12, 2013

bankrupting-physics

Author:
Alexander Unzicker, Sheilla Jones
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (2013)

The recently celebrated discovery of the Higgs boson has captivated the public’s imagination with the promise that it can explain the origins of everything in the universe. It’s no wonder that the media refers to it grandly as the “God particle.” Yet behind closed doors, physicists are admitting that there is much more to this story, and even years of gunning the Large Hadron Collider and herculean number crunching may… read more

The Hidden Alpha

February 19, 2013

thehiddenalpha

Author:
Alexander Popoff
Publisher:
Alexander Popoff (2013)

X Factors are unknown, emerging risks to human wellbeing, even survival. These risks might come from inner space (human cognitive and body enhancement, associated with genetic engineering, nanotechnologies, neural and cybernetic implants, etc.) and outer space (discovery and contact with extraterrestrial life and artificial intelligence).

That’s not preposterous science fiction mumbo jumbo of professor Farnsworth from Futurama but a serious discussion at the annual World Economic Forum in… read more

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