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Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (P.S.)

November 26, 2012

Words and Rules

Author:
Steven Pinker
Publisher:
Harper Perennial (2011)

How does language work? How do we learn to speak? Why do languages change? Why do they have so many quirks? What does language reveal about the mind?

Steven Pinker explores the mysteries of language in this original and hugely entertaining book. Pinker uses a deceptively simple phenomenon—regular and irregular verbs—to illuminate an astonishing array of topics: the history of languages, what we can learn from children’s grammatical… read more

Accelerando

April 15, 2009

accelerando

Author:
Charles Stross
Publisher:
Ace (2006)

During the last five years, Stross has garnered a reputation as one of the most imaginative practitioners of hard sf. Expanded from several stories originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Stross’ latest novel follows several generations of the Macx family through the rapidly transforming, Internet-enabled global economy of the early twenty-first century to the human and transhuman populated worlds of the outer solar system a half century later. The… read more

The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive

March 8, 2011

The Most Human Human book cover

Author:
Brian Christian
Publisher:
Doubleday (2011)

Amazon | The Most Human Human is a provocative, exuberant, and profound exploration of the ways in which computers are reshaping our ideas of what it means to be human. Its starting point is the annual Turing Test, which pits artificial intelligence programs against people to determine if computers can “think.”

Named for computer pioneer Alan Turing, the Tur­ing Test convenes a panel of judges who… read more

Lesterland: The Corruption of Congress and How To End It (TED Books)

April 3, 2013

Lesterland The Corruption of Congress and How to End It

Author:
Lawrence Lessig
Publisher:
TED Conferences (2013)

The American political system has been foundationally weakened by a corrupt campaign funding system, creating a dangerously unstable and inequitable design that could destroy our republic — if we let it. In this provocative and important book, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig takes on the deep flaws in our campaign finance system and lays out a plan for fixing it. Lessig describes a place called Lesterland, a fictional land… read more

Apocalyptic Planet: A Field Guide to the Future of the Earth (Vintage)

August 2, 2013

Apocalyptic Planet

Author:
Craig Childs
Publisher:
Vintage (2013)

2013 Orion Book Award Winner
2013 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award Winner

Ours is not a stable planet. It is prone to sudden, violent natural disasters and extremes of climate. In this exhilarating exploration of our globe, Craig Childs goes to where the apocalypse can be seen now. From the driest deserts of Chile, through the genetic wasteland of central Iowa, to the site of the drowned land bridge… read more

The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things

October 7, 2013

The Silent Intelligence

Author:
Daniel Kellmereit, Daniel Obodovski
Publisher:
DND Ventures LLC (2013)

The Silent Intelligence is a book about the Internet of Things. We talk about the history, trends, technology ecosystem and future of Connected Cities, Connected Homes, Connected Health and Connected Cars. We also discuss the most exciting growth areas for entrepreneurs and venture capital investors. We share exciting stories and unique opinions of more than 30 industry veterans, experts and visionaries from Google, Ericsson, AT&T, Qualcomm, SAP, MIT, Jawbone… read more

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

September 10, 2010

morallandscape

Author:
Sam Harris
Publisher:
Free Press (2010)

Amazon | Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to nonbelieving scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values.

Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious… read more

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know

February 26, 2014

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Author:
P. W. Singer
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA (2014)

A generation ago, “cyberspace” was just a term from science fiction, used to describe the nascent network of computers linking a few university labs. Today, our entire modern way of life, from communication to commerce to conflict, fundamentally depends on the Internet. And the cybersecurity issues that result challenge literally everyone: politicians wrestling with everything from cybercrime to online freedom; generals protecting the nation from new forms of attack,… read more

Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality

July 8, 2010

Apocalyptic AI cover

Author:
Robert Geraci
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2010)

Amazon | Apocalyptic AI, the hope that we might one day upload our minds into machines or cyberspace and live forever, is a surprisingly wide-spread and influential idea, affecting everything from the world view of online gamers to government research funding and philosophical thought. In Apocalyptic AI, Robert Geraci offers the first serious account of this “cyber-theology” and the people who promote it.

Drawing on interviews with roboticists… read more

I Am a Strange Loop

May 4, 2011

I am a Strange Loop book cover

Author:
Douglas R. Hofstadter
Publisher:
Basic Books (2008)

Amazon | Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here?

I Am a Strange Loop argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop” — a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is… read more

Brainsteering: A Better Approach to Breakthrough Ideas

March 30, 2011

Brainsteering book cover

Author:
Kevin P. Coyne, Shawn T. Coyne
Publisher:
HarperBusiness (2011)

Amazon | Change the way you think about new ideas by steering your creativity in new and more productive directions.

Ideas. Whether the goal is to create a billion-dollar business, fix a broken process, reduce expenses, or simply find the perfect gift for that special someone, we all need a steady stream of breakthrough ideas — and we’ve all learned from experience that traditional brainstorming doesn’t generate… read more

Living Architecture: How Synthetic Biology Can Remake Our Cities and Reshape Our Lives

February 24, 2012

livingarchitecture

Author:
Rachel Armstrong
Publisher:
TED Books

What will the city of the future look like? More like an ever-changing and vibrant garden than a static set of buildings and blocks. In ‘Living Architecture,’ British scientist and architect Rachel Armstrong re-imagines the world’s extensive urban areas and argues that in order to achieve sustainable development of the built environment — and help countries like Japan recover from natural disasters — we need to start… read more

Explorations in Quantum Computing

May 24, 2012

explorationsinquantumcomputing

Author:
Colin P. Williams
Publisher:
Springer (2011)

Amazon | By the year 2020, the basic memory components of a computer will be the size of individual atoms. At such scales, the current theory of computation will become invalid. “Quantum computing” is reinventing the foundations of computer science and information theory in a way that is consistent with quantum physics — the most accurate model of reality currently known. Remarkably, this theory predicts that quantum computers can perform certain… read more

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

October 8, 2013

DogFight

Author:
Fred Vogelstein
Publisher:
Sarah Crichton Books (2013)

Behind the bitter rivalry between Apple and Google—and how it’s reshaping the way we think about technology

The rise of smartphones and tablets has altered the business of making computers. At the center of this change are Apple and Google, two companies whose philosophies, leaders, and commercial acumen have steamrolled the competition. In the age of the Android and the iPad, these corporations are locked in a feud that will play… read more

Love Byte

July 22, 2012

love_byte

Author:
Larry Kilham
Publisher:
Lawrence B. Kilham (2012)

Juno is a superintelligent AI computer developed by the U.S. government to conduct social media attacks against enemies foreign and domestic. She is the first AI computer programmed with emotions and conscience.

She has an emotional bond with her developer, Tom Renwick, a computer scientist. Juno, Tom and their boss, Dr. Erwin Krakouer, the mad National Security Advisor, struggle with issues of trust and emotion. The… read more

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