In this list, I tried to collect the top 10 most important and popular books around AI, Machine Learning and Robotics. I spent the last year reading each one of them and I totally recommend all of them (Ok maybe some more than others). This collection is a nice break from all the technical stuff so don’t expect to find technical books filled with math and algorithms.
Instead there are only nonfiction books which analyze Artificial Intelligence from a philosophical or a business point of view. In my opinion every Machine Learning Engineer, Programmer with an interest in Machine Learning , Professional who wants to apply AI into his business should read at least two of them. Don’t be surprised if I tell you that every person on the planet should read one of them.
Artificial Intelligence is slowly proven itself as the major force of all future technological advancements and is expected to play a significant role in shaping our every-day lives more than most of us imagine.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
After publishing the best-seller Sapiens, which describes the evolution of mankind through the ages from apes to super-intelligent beings, Yuav Noah Harari (a historian, philosopher, and a professor in the Department of History at the University of Jerusalem) continues his search into the future.
In his book Homo Deus, he argues that humanity will increase his efforts to achieve total happiness, immortality and God-like powers and that may result into various possible futures. Will humans lose control to machines? Will the man be worshiped as God? But the man idea throughout the book is that it will end in uncoupling our intelligence from emotions. Harari dives deep into philosophical issues such as consciousness, human emotions, individualism so if you’d like a little philosophical questioning and thinking, make sure you read this book.
The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
Ray Kurzweil is an inventor and futurists who has written 5 best-sellers so far and is partially responsible for popularizing the term Technological Singularity through his book “The Singularity is Near”. The book focuses on a more technical aspect of AI rather than a philosophical point of view and analyzes the sociological impacts of intelligent robots in human life. It also introduces the possibility to merging with machines and live as a cybernetic being, like a cyborg(to make a Battlestar Galactica referenc, sorry I couldn’t help myself).
As Bill Gates put it: 'Ray Kurzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence. His intriguing new book envisions a future in which information technologies have advanced so far and fast that they enable humanity to transcend its biological limitations - transforming our lives in ways we can't yet imagine.'
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Superintelligence by prof. Nick Bostrom is the book on Artificial Intelligence safety. Bostrom imagines how we can create an Artificial Intelligence far superior than we could even think and what risks does it entail. He thinks of examples of how things can go wrong and if superintelligence can replace us as the dominant lifeform on Earth.
One thing that stood out to me was the parallelization of humans with gorillas. If the fate of gorillas depends more on humans than themselves, could this mean that the fate of humans will depend more on AI than on our species? Another great philosophical book on AI which raises more questions than it answers (and that how it should be)
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Life 3.0 by cosmologist and MIT professor Max Tegmark. Life 1.0 comes from biologocial evolution, life 2.0 from cultural evolution and Life 3.0 from technological evolution. It describes once again how things could go wrong. But it does so by using tangible examples with real-life elements and it proposes specific actions to prevent them.
Hear this: a company called Omega took over the world using a super-intelligent AI agent, called Prometheus who was able to develop breakthrough systems, manage global resources optimally and even create other machines. All of that were achieved without anyone realizing AI was behind it. That’s how the book starts. Does this sound plausible to you? It sure does to me.
AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order
Kai-Fu Lee ( who developed the world's first speaker-independent speech recognition system and held executives positions in Google, Apple and Microsoft) argues that dramatic changes due to AI may happen much sooner than we expect and explores the impact China will have in future. According to him : “If data is the new oil, then China is the new Saudi Arabia”. Maybe the future is not western after all.
He focuses on the problem of global unemployment as a result of AI and he provides a clear description of which jobs will be affected, how soon and how we can provide solutions. The best thing about his book is that it won’t go into vague apocalyptic predictions but it forms educated guesses based on real-world data and his experience in the field.
Analytics of Life: Making Sense of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Analytics
Analytics of Life by Mert Damlapinar is an amazing book for businessmen, managers, marketers and entrepreneurs who want an introduction in Artificial Intelligence and advanced Data Analytics. It starts by an explanation of what is Machine Learning and Big Data and then it covers real examples of applications on healthcare, marketing, governments and nature, explains what jobs will be replaced and how companies and startups can apply AI to solve their use cases. To summarize the main idea: AI can and will transform almost every industry. A must if you are a professional, who wants to dive into the world of Machine Learning
The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World
If you want the best high-level overview of Machine Learning, look no further than The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos. Domingos manages to organize the entire field of ML in one book and covers everything from the history of the field to latest breakthroughs.
It creates a conceptual model of the field by categorizing algorithms into 5 different school of thoughts. Each school has its own perspective of what the best generalized algorithm is. Then he goes into more details about its school and its algorithms and finally, he suggests that the ultimate master algorithm is the combination of all these and that we gradually drive towards that goal.
How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed
How to Create a mind is the second book in our list by Ray Kurzweil. This time he takes the exploration into AI a step further. What’s the best way to create an artificial brain? The answer is to reverse engineer our own biological brain, understand precisely how it works and then apply this accumulated knowledge to create intelligent machines.
Inspired by the latest neuroscience research he describes how our brain is nothing more than “a self-organizing hierarchical system of pattern recognizers” and those insights will enable us to reconstruct it using silicon and programming.
Our Final Invention
In this book James Barrat (a documentary filmmaker for National Geographic, Discovery, PBS and more) characterized Artificial Intelligence as humanity’s final invention. It clearly exposes the risks that may arise from General Artificial Intelligence, it indicates that superintelligence does not necessarily imply benevolence and it summarizes the last years of research on potential AI threads. And it does so thought extensive research and detailed interviews with people in the field.
Our final Invention might have a slightly pessimistic tone and it might leave you with a sense of hopelessness but that’s why it’s a great book. It forces you to think about our future, to try to find new ways to prevent all that from happening. Social awareness at its best.
Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI
Accenture leaders Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson use their experience to reveal how companies use AI to drive innovation and increase profitability and how AI clearly transforms all business processes from customer service and new inventions to productivity and workplace culture. I like to describe it as a playbook for other business leaders to understand the positive impact AI will have on their companies but also the need for education and training to prevent the disruption caused.
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