bookshelf by year

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

July 9, 2013

Social Why Our brains are wired to connect

author |
Matthew D. Lieberman
year published |
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

Pathways to the Future: The Robot Revolt

May 29, 2014

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author |
David Mills
year published |
2014

Sandra Lightning was a hybrid: part computer, all woman. Her job: secretly penetrate the largest robot manufacturing company on Earth, use her unique talents to spy on them, find out what secret plans they are fermenting and investigate the role of their robots in several mysterious deaths.

Sandra is joined by Denver Smith, forced to leave his comfortable niche as a graduate student when his life is threatened.… 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

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

April 4, 2011

Future Babble book cover

author |
Dan Gardner
year published |
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

The Book of Immortality

September 11, 2013

TheBookofImmortality

author |
Adam Leith Gollner
year published |
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

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft

November 16, 2015

Future Visions

author |
Elizabeth Bear, Greg Bear, David Brin, Nancy Kress
year published |
2015

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft is an anthology of new short work from some of the greatest science fiction writers in the field. These visionary stories explore prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more. The authors used inside access to leading-edge work from Microsoft Research as inspiration, crafting pieces that predict the near-future of technology — and examine its complex relationship to our core… read more

The Hidden Alpha

February 19, 2013

thehiddenalpha

author |
Alexander Popoff
year published |
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

Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century

October 29, 2012

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author |
James R. Flynn
year published |
2012

The ‘Flynn effect’ is a surprising finding, identified by James R. Flynn, that IQ test scores have significantly increased from one generation to the next over the past century. Flynn now brings us an exciting new book which aims to make sense of this rise in IQ scores and considers what this tells us about our intelligence, our minds and society. Are We Getting Smarter? features fascinating new material… read more

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live

August 21, 2013

Paleofantasy

author |
Marlene Zuk
year published |
2013

An exposé of pseudoscientific myths about our evolutionary past and how we should live today.

We evolved to eat berries rather than bagels, to live in mud huts rather than condos, to sprint barefoot rather than play football—or did we? Are our bodies and brains truly at odds with modern life? Although it may seem as though we have barely had time to shed our hunter-gatherer legacy, biologist… read more

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

September 12, 2013

bankrupting-physics

author |
Alexander Unzicker, Sheilla Jones
year published |
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

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

June 2, 2014

superintelligence

author |
Nick Bostrom
year published |
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

Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution

November 30, 2010

infinitereality

author |
Jim Blascovich, Jeremy Bailenson
year published |
2011

Harper Collins | How far off is the science in the film Avatar? Do our brains know where “reality” ends and “virtual” begins? Where is technology leading us? Two leading authorities in the field of virtual reality answer these questions and more as they examine the possibilities and potential of emerging digital technologies to free our minds and change our understanding of what it means to be… read more

Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human

September 5, 2014

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author |
David Roden
year published |
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

This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress (Edge Question Series)

February 23, 2015

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author |
John Brockman
year published |
2015

Reporting from the cutting edge of scientific discovery, today’s visionary thinkers target the greatest roadblocks to innovation.

Few truly new ideas are developed without first abandoning old ones. In the past, discoveries often had to wait for the rise of the next generation to see questions in a new light and let go of old truisms.

Today, in a world that is defined by a rapid rate… read more

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