AI bootcamp: 10 books to get up to speed

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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August 27, 2018

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World

By: Meredith Broussard

Book description (Amazon): "We are so eager to do everything digitally ― hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners ― that we have stopped demanding that our technology actually work. Broussard, a software developer and journalist, reminds us that there are fundamental limits to what we can (and should) do with technology. With this book, she offers a guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology ― and issues a warning that we should never assume that computers always get things right."

Why you should read it: A book for anyone in your life who believes technology is always the solution. One reviewer writes: "It's always refreshing to read a solid critique by someone who clearly knows her tech. You shouldn't miss this book. Broussard masterfully mixes personal anecdote, deep insights about the limitations of AI technologies (the true kind, not the world-domination fantasies coming from Sci-Fi,) ethical discussion, social commentary, and tons of wit."

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future

By: Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson 

Book description (Amazon): "We live in strange times. A machine plays the strategy game Go better than any human; upstarts like Apple and Google destroy industry stalwarts such as Nokia; ideas from the crowd are repeatedly more innovative than corporate research labs. MIT’s Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson know what it takes to master this digital-powered shift: we must rethink the integration of minds and machines, of products and platforms, and of the core and the crowd. In all three cases, the balance now favors the second element of the pair, with massive implications for how we run our companies and live our lives."

Why you should read it: Arianna Huffington calls this book "a road map for leaders to make wise choices as they navigate this new world." She writes, "The digital revolution we’re entering can be unsettling, but McAfee and Brynjolfsson show how these incredibly powerful technologies will make our choices more important than ever." Moreover, these two authors are among the most respected researchers of how AI will impact employment, worldwide.

[ Where are organizations finding early success with AI? Read also: When AI meets digital transformation: 4 areas where AI fits now. ]

The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation

By: Darrell M. West  

Book description (Amazon): "Looking past today's headlines, political scientist and cultural observer Darrell M. West argues that society needs to rethink the concept of jobs, reconfigure the social contract, move toward a system of lifetime learning, and develop a new kind of politics that can deal with economic dislocations. This book presents a number of proposals to help people deal with the transition from an industrial to a digital economy."

Why you should read it: If you are a manager of people, you need to be thinking about how the future of AI will impact the future of work and the people on your team. This book can help you think about your people and talent issues in the broader context of how society will change as machines get smarter. 

2062: The World that AI Made

By: Toby Walsh  

Book description (Amazon): "The majority of experts in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics predict we are likely to have built machines as intelligent as us by the year 2062. What will the future look like when the quest to build intelligent machines has succeeded? Based on a deep understanding of the technology and its implications, 2062 describes the choices we need to make today to ensure a good future. He concludes that, if we plan well, the future past 2062 could be very bright indeed but we need to start making some difficult choices today."

Why you should read it: Available for pre-order, this book promises to answer some pressing questions about AI, like "Will automation take away most of our jobs? When will we start to see this happen?  Will inequality continue to increase? How can we prevent this? How will political debate adjust to the digital world? 

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

By: Max Tegmark 

Book description (Amazon): "The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology—and there’s nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who’s helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn’t shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues — from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos."

Why you should read it: All of us as humans will be impacted by the future of AI. That's why, perhaps, one reviewer called this book a must-read for everyone on the planet. "The primary purpose of the book, in Tegmark’s words, is to invite all of us to participate in setting goals for the development of artificial intelligence and, indeed, the future of scientific inquiry. It is rare that someone of Tegmark’s standing in the scientific community invites us into the tent and as I read the book I felt an overwhelming sense of obligation to oblige the request. This book, I think, is that important," the reviewer states. 

[ How do you stack up to digital transformation leaders? Read our new report from HBR Analytic Services: Transformation Masters: The New Rules of CIO Leadership. ]

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