AI bootcamp: 10 books to get up to speed

You've had enough artificial intelligence hype. Dig into these books to focus on what's coming for your organization, team – and career
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If you are still taking a "wait and see" approach to artificial intelligence, you may already be falling behind your peers in IT. Although just 15 percent of enterprises are using AI, 31 percent said that it was on the agenda for the next 12 months, according to Adobe's February 2018 “Digital Trends” report. That number will only go up as machine learning and AI technology continues to change how we work, live, and think. Along these lines, Mary Meeker's 2018 Internet trends report cited AI as a hot growth area for IT spending.

There is plenty of hype-filled speculation about what the future of AI will look like. But most leaders just want to know what they can do now to better prepare themselves, their teams, and their businesses for what lies ahead. 

[ Read also: Artificial intelligence: 4 truths CIOs should know. ]

We've selected 10 recent books that can help you get up to speed fast on AI's present and future. Let's dive in: 

Artificial Intelligence: 101 Things You Must Know Today About Our Future

By: Lasse Rouhiainen

Book description (Amazon): "Artificial intelligence will help us do almost everything better, faster and cheaper, and it will profoundly change industries such as transportation, tourism, healthcare, education, retail, agriculture, finance, sales, and marketing. This book covers many fascinating and timely topics related to artificial intelligence, including self-driving cars, robots, chatbots, and how AI will impact the job market, business processes, and entire industries, just to name a few."

Why you should read it: When it comes to AI, there is no shortage of questions about how it will impact our future. This book can help you answer 101 of those questions. "A book to be read here and there," said one reviewer on Amazon. "Pick your most pertinent questions from the table of contents and read the chapters for inspiration." 

HBR's 10 Must Reads on AI, Analytics, and the New Machine Age

By: Harvard Business Review

Book description (Amazon): "If you read nothing else on how intelligent machines are revolutionizing business, read these 10 articles. We've combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles and selected the most important ones to reveal how these new technologies fit together, to explain what's coming next, and to help you prepare your company now."

Why you should read it: HBR's 10 Must Reads book series are great starting points for managers and leaders who want to learn more about a particular topic because they apply timeless advice to current issues leaders are facing. This collection prepares managers to lead people through the various changes AI will bring, including unmanned vehicles, AI assistants, augmented reality, and more. 

Applied Artificial Intelligence: A Handbook For Business Leaders

By: Mariya Yao, Adelyn Zhou, and Marlene Jia 

Book description (Amazon): "Applied Artificial Intelligence is a practical guide for business leaders who are passionate about leveraging machine intelligence to enhance the productivity of their organizations and the quality of life in their communities. If you want to drive innovation by combining data, technology, design, and people to solve real problems at an enterprise scale, this is your playbook." 

Why you should read it: With a 95 percent 5-star rating on Amazon and rated a CES 2018 Top Technology Book of the Year, this buzzed-about book offers value to readers, whether your company is new to AI or already experimenting. One reader said "We do a lot of work with AI at my company, so I was surprised to find out that this book still contained a lot of useful information I didn't already know. Recommended if you want to cover your bases when it comes to AI for business." 

[ See our related article: The state of AI: 10 eye-opening statistics. ]

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence

By: Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb

Book description (Amazon): "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."

Why you should read it: While much of the dialogue around artificial intelligence focuses on the future, this book dives into what we can do now. IT leaders are already accustomed to making decisions under uncertainty, and the predictive power of AI can make that task easier, say the authors of this book. If you've been in "waiting mode" for AI to change your industry, read this book for ideas on how to get started today. 

AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together

By: Nick Polson, and James Scott 

Book description (Amazon): "Dozens of times per day, we all interact with intelligent machines that are constantly learning from the wealth of data now available to them. These machines, from smart phones to talking robots to self-driving cars, are remaking the world in the 21st century in the same way that the Industrial Revolution remade the world in the 19th century. AIQ is based on a simple premise: if you want to understand the modern world, then you have to know a little bit of the mathematical language spoken by intelligent machines. AIQ will teach you that language."

Why you should read it: Steven D. Levitt, co-author of "Freakonomics," called this the book about artificial intelligence. Other reviewers agree, citing the book's practical takeaways and the authors' ability to make complicated concepts accessible to all readers. Pick up this book if you want an enjoyable read that will leave you feeling inspired about the future of AI. 

Carla Rudder is a community manager and program manager for The Enterprisers Project. She enjoys bringing new authors into the community and helping them craft articles that showcase their voice and deliver novel, actionable insights for readers.