The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

Erik Brynjolfsson - 2014
    Digital technologies—with hardware, software, and networks at their core—will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human.In The Second Machine Age MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee—two thinkers at the forefront of their field—reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kinds—from lawyers to truck drivers—will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift: fewer people are working, and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar.Drawing on years of research and up-to-the-minute trends, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.A fundamentally optimistic book, The Second Machine Age alters how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress.

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World

Pedro Domingos - 2015
    In The Master Algorithm, Pedro Domingos lifts the veil to give us a peek inside the learning machines that power Google, Amazon, and your smartphone. He assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner--the Master Algorithm--and discusses what it will mean for business, science, and society. If data-ism is today's philosophy, this book is its bible.

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Nick Bostrom - 2014
    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 intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful--possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed Artificial Intelligence, to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

Martin Ford - 2015
    In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary. Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further. At the same time, households are under assault from exploding costs, especially from the two major industries—education and health care—that, so far, have not been transformed by information technology. The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality as well as the implosion of the consumer economy itself.In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren't going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects—not to mention those of their children—as well as for society as a whole.

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms

Hannah Fry - 2018
    It’s time we stand face-to-digital-face with the true powers and limitations of the algorithms that already automate important decisions in healthcare, transportation, crime, and commerce. Hello World is indispensable preparation for the moral quandaries of a world run by code, and with the unfailingly entertaining Hannah Fry as our guide, we’ll be discussing these issues long after the last page is turned.

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

Kai-Fu Lee - 2018
    Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most respected experts on AI and China—reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid and unexpected pace.In AI Superpowers, Kai-Fu Lee argues powerfully that because of these unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than many of us expected. Indeed, as the US-Sino AI competition begins to heat up, Lee urges the US and China to both accept and to embrace the great responsibilities that come with significant technological power.Most experts already say that AI will have a devastating impact on blue-collar jobs. But Lee predicts that Chinese and American AI will have a strong impact on white-collar jobs as well. Is universal basic income the solution? In Lee’s opinion, probably not.  But he provides a clear description of which jobs will be affected and how soon, which jobs can be enhanced with AI, and most importantly, how we can provide solutions to some of the most profound changes in human history that are coming soon.

The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

Ray Kurzweil - 2005
    In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our creations.

Deep Learning

Ian Goodfellow - 2016
    Because the computer gathers knowledge from experience, there is no need for a human computer operator to formally specify all the knowledge that the computer needs. The hierarchy of concepts allows the computer to learn complicated concepts by building them out of simpler ones; a graph of these hierarchies would be many layers deep. This book introduces a broad range of topics in deep learning.The text offers mathematical and conceptual background, covering relevant concepts in linear algebra, probability theory and information theory, numerical computation, and machine learning. It describes deep learning techniques used by practitioners in industry, including deep feedforward networks, regularization, optimization algorithms, convolutional networks, sequence modeling, and practical methodology; and it surveys such applications as natural language processing, speech recognition, computer vision, online recommendation systems, bioinformatics, and videogames. Finally, the book offers research perspectives, covering such theoretical topics as linear factor models, autoencoders, representation learning, structured probabilistic models, Monte Carlo methods, the partition function, approximate inference, and deep generative models.Deep Learning can be used by undergraduate or graduate students planning careers in either industry or research, and by software engineers who want to begin using deep learning in their products or platforms. A website offers supplementary material for both readers and instructors.

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place

Janelle Shane - 2019
    according to an artificial intelligence trained by scientist Janelle Shane, creator of the popular blog "AI Weirdness." She creates silly AIs that learn how to name paint colors, create the best recipes, and even flirt (badly) with humans--all to understand the technology that governs so much of our daily lives.We rely on AI every day for recommendations, for translations, and to put cat ears on our selfie videos. We also trust AI with matters of life and death, on the road and in our hospitals. But how smart is AI really, and how does it solve problems, understand humans, and even drive self-driving cars?Shane delivers the answers to every AI question you've ever asked, and some you definitely haven't--like, how can a computer design the perfect sandwich? What does robot-generated Harry Potter fan-fiction look like? And is the world's best Halloween costume really "Vampire Hog Bride"?In this smart, often hilarious introduction to the most interesting science of our time, Shane shows how these programs learn, fail, and adapt--and how they reflect the best and worst of humanity. You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is the perfect book for anyone curious about what the robots in our lives are thinking.

Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World

Christopher Steiner - 2012
    It used to be that to diagnose an illness, interpret legal documents, analyze foreign policy, or write a newspaper article you needed a human being with specific skills—and maybe an advanced degree or two. These days, high-level tasks are increasingly being handled by algorithms that can do precise work not only with speed but also with nuance. These “bots” started with human programming and logic, but now their reach extends beyond what their creators ever expected. In this fascinating, frightening book, Christopher Steiner tells the story of how algorithms took over—and shows why the “bot revolution” is about to spill into every aspect of our lives, often silently, without our knowledge. The May 2010 “Flash Crash” exposed Wall Street’s reliance on trading bots to the tune of a 998-point market drop and $1 trillion in vanished market value. But that was just the beginning. In Automate This, we meet bots that are driving cars, penning haiku, and writing music mistaken for Bach’s. They listen in on our customer service calls and figure out what Iran would do in the event of a nuclear standoff. There are algorithms that can pick out the most cohesive crew of astronauts for a space mission or identify the next Jeremy Lin. Some can even ingest statistics from baseball games and spit out pitch-perfect sports journalism indistinguishable from that produced by humans. The interaction of man and machine can make our lives easier. But what will the world look like when algorithms control our hospitals, our roads, our culture, and our national security? What hap­pens to businesses when we automate judgment and eliminate human instinct? And what role will be left for doctors, lawyers, writers, truck drivers, and many others?  Who knows—maybe there’s a bot learning to do your job this minute.

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence

Ajay Agrawal - 2018
    But facing the sea change that AI will bring can be paralyzing. How should companies set strategies, governments design policies, and people plan their lives for a world so different from what we know? In the face of such uncertainty, many analysts either cower in fear or predict an impossibly sunny future.But in Prediction Machines, three eminent economists recast the rise of AI as a drop in the cost of prediction. With this single, masterful stroke, they lift the curtain on the AI-is-magic hype and show how basic tools from economics provide clarity about the AI revolution and a basis for action by CEOs, managers, policy makers, investors, and entrepreneurs.When AI is framed as cheap prediction, its extraordinary potential becomes clear: Prediction is at the heart of making decisions under uncertainty. Our businesses and personal lives are riddled with such decisions. Prediction tools increase productivity--operating machines, handling documents, communicating with customers. Uncertainty constrains strategy. Better prediction creates opportunities for new business structures and strategies to compete. Penetrating, fun, and always insightful and practical, Prediction Machines follows its inescapable logic to explain how to navigate the changes on the horizon. The impact of AI will be profound, but the economic framework for understanding it is surprisingly simple.

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger - 2013
    “Big data” refers to our burgeoning ability to crunch vast collections of information, analyze it instantly, and draw sometimes profoundly surprising conclusions from it. This emerging science can translate myriad phenomena—from the price of airline tickets to the text of millions of books—into searchable form, and uses our increasing computing power to unearth epiphanies that we never could have seen before. A revolution on par with the Internet or perhaps even the printing press, big data will change the way we think about business, health, politics, education, and innovation in the years to come. It also poses fresh threats, from the inevitable end of privacy as we know it to the prospect of being penalized for things we haven’t even done yet, based on big data’s ability to predict our future behavior.In this brilliantly clear, often surprising work, two leading experts explain what big data is, how it will change our lives, and what we can do to protect ourselves from its hazards. Big Data is the first big book about the next big

The Industries of the Future

Alec J. Ross - 2016
    In the next ten years, change will happen even faster. As Hillary Clinton's Senior Advisor for Innovation, Alec Ross travelled nearly a million miles to forty-one countries, the equivalent of two round-trips to the moon. From refugee camps in the Congo and Syrian war zones, to visiting the world's most powerful people in business and government, Ross's travels amounted to a four-year masterclass in the changing nature of innovation. In The Industries of the Future, Ross distils his observations on the forces that are changing the world. He highlights the best opportunities for progress and explains how countries thrive or sputter. Ross examines the specific fields that will most shape our economic future over the next ten years, including robotics, artificial intelligence, the commercialization of genomics, cybercrime and the impact of digital technology. Blending storytelling and economic analysis, he answers questions on how we will need to adapt. Ross gives readers a vivid and informed perspective on how sweeping global trends are affecting the ways we live, now and tomorrow.

Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

Brad Smith - 2019
    This might seem uncontroversial, but it flies in the face of a tech sector long obsessed with rapid growth and sometimes on disruption as an end in itself. Now, though, we have reached an inflection point: Silicon Valley has moved fast and it has broken things. A new understanding has emerged that companies that create technology must accept greater responsibility for the future. And governments will need to regulate technology by moving faster and catching up with the pace of innovation that is impacting our communities and changing the world.In Tools and Weapons, Brad Smith takes us into the cockpit of one of the world's largest and most powerful tech companies as it finds itself in the middle of some of the thorniest emerging issues of our time. These are challenges that come with no preexisting playbook, including privacy, cybercrime and cyberwar, social media, the moral conundrums of AI, big tech's relationship to inequality and the challenges for democracy, far and near. While in no way a self-glorifying "Microsoft memoir," the book opens up the curtain remarkably wide onto some of the company's most crucial recent decision points, as it strives to protect the hopes technology offers against the very real threats it also presents. Every tool can be a weapon in the wrong person's hands, and companies are being challenged in entirely new ways to embrace the totality of their responsibilities. We have moved from a world in which Silicon Valley could take no prisoners to one in which tech companies and governments must work together to address the challenges and adapt to the changes technology has unleashed. There are huge ramifications to be thought through, and Brad Smith provides a marvelous and urgently necessary contribution to that effort.

Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy

George Gilder - 2018
    Gilder says or writes is ever delivered at anything less than the fullest philosophical decibel... Mr. Gilder sounds less like a tech guru than a poet, and his words tumble out in a romantic cascade." “Google’s algorithms assume the world’s future is nothing more than the next moment in a random process. George Gilder shows how deep this assumption goes, what motivates people to make it, and why it’s wrong: the future depends on human action.” — Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and Palantir Technologies and author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future The Age of Google, built on big data and machine intelligence, has been an awesome era. But it’s coming to an end. In Life after Google, George Gilder—the peerless visionary of technology and culture—explains why Silicon Valley is suffering a nervous breakdown and what to expect as the post-Google age dawns. Google’s astonishing ability to “search and sort” attracts the entire world to its search engine and countless other goodies—videos, maps, email, calendars….And everything it offers is free, or so it seems. Instead of paying directly, users submit to advertising. The system of “aggregate and advertise” works—for a while—if you control an empire of data centers, but a market without prices strangles entrepreneurship and turns the Internet into a wasteland of ads. The crisis is not just economic. Even as advances in artificial intelligence induce delusions of omnipotence and transcendence, Silicon Valley has pretty much given up on security. The Internet firewalls supposedly protecting all those passwords and personal information have proved hopelessly permeable. The crisis cannot be solved within the current computer and network architecture. The future lies with the “cryptocosm”—the new architecture of the blockchain and its derivatives. Enabling cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether, NEO and Hashgraph, it will provide the Internet a secure global payments system, ending the aggregate-and-advertise Age of Google. Silicon Valley, long dominated by a few giants, faces a “great unbundling,” which will disperse computer power and commerce and transform the economy and the Internet. Life after Google is almost here.   For fans of "Wealth and Poverty," "Knowledge and Power," and "The Scandal of Money."