Hello 2020! As the world welcomes a new decade, Engineering360 is welcoming a new book list. One of the most popular new year’s resolutions is to read more. In 2018 and 2019, Engineering360 posted an article listing 10 books to help achieve that resolution, and this year is no exception. Below are this year’s picks for books to read as the world settles into a new decade.
1) Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry
Mathematician Hannah Fry spent years studying math and has a Ph.D. in fluid dynamics. She wrote The Mathematics of Love after her successful 2014 TED Talk on the subject. Now she has written Hello World. In this book, Fry analyzes the problems humanity is facing in the algorithm age. The world relies on algorithms to make many important every day decisions. Consequently, algorithms are shaping the world, but Fry asks, are they shaping the world in the way that humanity needs it to be shaped? When does privacy become more important than efficiency? Will algorithms cross that line? This book addresses all those questions and discusses the good, the bad and the ugly of algorithms and an algorithm-driven world.
2) Reinventing Jobs: a 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work by Ravin Jesuthasan and John W. Boudreau
Automation is everywhere. Sometimes it seems like the whole world is being automated. For business owners and decision-makers, it can be difficult to pinpoint when automation is an addition or a hindrance to a business. This book answers some of the many questions that people have about implementing automation. It also shows people how to stay on top of the latest trends in tech without burning money or overwhelming a business. This book breaks down automation integration into four steps and gives the reader tools to identify the performance value of a job and how to reconstruct the job to integrate automation.
3) How Smart Machines Think by Sean Gerrish
In this book, Gerrish breaks down recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and shows how they affect the world’s future. Gerrish outlines the key ideas that enable intelligent machines to perceive and interact with the world. He also explains the difficulties of creating intelligent computers and the software behind many AI-based innovations that made headlines in the last few years. This includes self-driving cars, IBM Watson’s Jeopardy win, Netflix’s competition for a better search engine, how computers were trained to perform certain behaviors, how computers use artificial and neural networks to perceive the world and more. A great choice for those who want to understand just how smart machines think.
4) Human Compatible: AI and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell
Stuart Russell worked on AI for decades. Now he is worried that it will become too smart for its own good. This book focuses on one of the biggest questions facing humanity: What happens if humanity creates super-intelligent machines? Russell explains how AI works, how it improves lives and how to avoid AI-related disasters. He makes it clear how important it is for humans to keep control of AI machines, even if they become smarter than humans.
5) Blockchain 2035: The Digital DNA of Internet 3.0 by Jared Tate and Andrew Knapp
Blockchain technology is a key to re-architecting the monetary system and internet networks, devices and systems to avoid technological doom. This is not a new idea. Blockchain is behind the way that nation-states, corporations and people compete and exercise power in today’s digital world. This book provides two perspectives on how to avoid technological disaster, one from the founder of blockchain and the other a former intelligence activist. With these two perspectives, the book addresses the technical and political implications of technology's development, how to avoid destruction and how it can open an even broader world.
6) The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
This book has not been released yet, but it should be at the top of any tech fan’s must-read list. According to Diamandis and Kotler, the next 10 years will see more of a tech upheaval than ever before. They also say that more tech will be created in the next 10 years than has been created in the past 100 years. This book is the blueprint for how the world will change in response to the next 10 years in tech and focuses on how the accelerating technologies will impact society and daily life. The authors also answer questions about the future, including: What will happen when the technologies crash together? How will legacy industries change? How will this change how humans raise kids, govern nations and care for the planet? This is the perfect read for those who are excited about the tech development of the next decade.
7) Upcycled Technology: Clever Projects You Can Do With Your Discarded Tech by Daniel Davis
This is a great book for those whose new year's resolution was to read more and work on more makers projects! The best part is that the projects use tech already sitting in your junk drawer. Davis wanted to encourage makers to create DIY science and electronics projects at home with whatever is in their house. With this book, makers can learn how to build a Wi-Fi security camera with an old cell phone, a basic 3D printer out of old computer disks and more. This is a great tech book for tinkerers and makers looking for their next project.
8) Women Know Cyber: 100 Fascinating Females Fighting Cybercrime by Di Freeze and Steve Morgan
Cybersecurity is a male-dominated profession. Men outnumber women in cybersecurity three to one, according to a Cybersecurity Workforce report. But there are many women who work in cybersecurity and are leaders in their field. This book is based on the popular Twitter account @womenknowcyber. It details 100 cybersecurity experts around the globe who are protecting governments and businesses from cybercrime. Oh, and they are women! Those who enjoy the CR4 blog, Woman of the Week, will love reading all about the leading women in cybersecurity.
9) Making Futures: Young Entrepreneurs in a Digital Africa by Sangu Delle
Mainstream media does not often portray Africa as a budding technological continent. But there are a lot of amazing innovations coming out of many African countries. Delle’s book looks at 18 young entrepreneurs from 14 African countries who have created technologies that are changing the world. These entrepreneurs represent what is possible and what could be scaled up in Africa. Delle wanted to change the narrative about Africa by focusing on these young makers. This book also spreads knowledge about African markets and technology growth across the continent.
While people like to think they are in control of AI and their data, they are not. There are nine big companies that control AI and everything surrounding it. Webb argues that these nine companies are changing the future for immediate financial gain, rather than the betterment of humanity. Webb reveals how the foundation of AI is broken and how it can be saved. She argues that the big nine are inadvertently building and enabling arrays of intelligent systems that do not share the same motivations, desires and hopes as humans do.