9 must-read technology books for 2020

9 must-read technology books for 2020

Get a fresh perspective on core and emerging technologies - from AI to analytics - and the related leadership challenges. Put these technology books on your reading list

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must-read technology books 2020

Innovation Lab Excellence: Digital Transformation from Within

By Richard Turrin

Book description (via Amazon):Innovation Lab Excellence dives past the slick surface of espresso machines, youthful techies, and creatively designed co-working spaces to examine, in detail, the conditions and practices necessary for a lab and innovation to initiate and thrive. This book goes behind the scenes of working innovation labs to distill a rigorous set of best practices. Apply these to unleash the innovation that will give your enterprise a digital competitive advantage…

“This guide pulls no punches. It offers expert analysis of the most typical problems — and their solutions — so that your innovation can transcend the hype and achieve tangible results. Innovation Lab Excellence is a must-read if you manage an innovation lab, work in one, or are a business manager engaged with one.”

Why you should read it: A fintech leader-turned-consultant, Turrin comes out of the IBM innovation lab world. After detailing the evolution of innovation lab from luxury to must-have, he goes through the unique challenges of labs, the best practices that enable labs to deliver business value, and the importance of a human-centric approach to new tech adoption.

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

By Janelle Shane

Book description (via Amazon): “‘You look like a thing and I love you’ is one of the best pickup lines ever… 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…

“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?”

Why you should read it: Shane spends some quality time with AI, asking machines to do some very human tasks like write the first lines of novels, name a guinea pig, and identify sheep in unusual locations. Hilarity naturally ensues. But Shane also uncovers what she lays out as the five principles of “AI weirdness” and – in so doing – deftly explains what AI it is and what it isn’t; where it works and where it is doomed to fail; and why we should care. That’s earned this book praise from Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Daniel Pink, and Adam Grant.

The Deep Learning Revolution

By Terrence J. Sejnowski

Book description (via MIT Press): “The deep learning revolution has brought us driverless cars, the greatly improved Google Translate, fluent conversations with Siri and Alexa, and enormous profits from automated trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Deep learning networks can play poker better than professional poker players and defeat a world champion at Go. In this book, Terry Sejnowski explains how deep learning went from being an arcane academic field to a disruptive technology in the information economy.”

Why you should read it: The future is … deep learning. This subset of machine learning is where algorithms are built to mimic the structure and function of the brain’s neural networks, for tasks ranging from autonomous driving to virtual assistants. Sejnowski is a deep learning veteran, instrumental in the development of deep learning in the 1980s. He was also an advisory committee member for the Obama administration’s BRAIN initiative and is president of the Neural Information Processing (NIPS) Foundation. “If you want to understand AI,” MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson says, “you need to read The Deep Learning Revolution.”

Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership when Algorithms and Networks Run the World

By Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani

Book description (via Amazon): “Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani show how reinventing the firm around data, analytics, and AI removes traditional constraints on scale, scope, and learning that have restricted business growth for hundreds of years. From Airbnb to Ant Financial, Microsoft to Amazon, research shows how AI-driven processes are vastly more scalable than traditional processes, allow massive scope increase, enabling companies to straddle industry boundaries and create powerful opportunities for learning – to drive ever more accurate, complex, and sophisticated predictions.

“When traditional operating constraints are removed, strategy becomes a whole new game, one whose rules and likely outcomes this book will make clear.”

Why you should read it: HBS business professor and co-director of the school’s Laboratory for Information Science at Harvard and of the Digital Initiative, Iansiti goes beyond an exploration of the impact of intelligent systems on businesses, industries, and economies. He offers a framework for rethinking business and operating models in light of AI with a book that is chock full of case studies and research.


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