Summer already begun, but, for the majority of us, holidays are still far away (one month left, after 6 or 7 months of work, can be an infinite period to face!).
In any case, sooner or later we’ll gain the desired relax and, as usually happens, till the last second, we’ll look at some good book to read during the vacations.
For the ones who desire to left apart the daily routine and never-ending meetings and want to focus on readings able to give a new way of seeing scientific and technologic evolution, we though to gather some titles.
Below, you’ll find five significant books – for us -, able to combine the desire of knowing and study together with the one of relaxing and escaping.
These are five titles for a fast and fluid reading but, at the same time, able to provide important information and instruments on how understand and live technological and scientific evolutions of our times, passing through the Artificial Intelligence to the mechanisms guiding the human cognition.
1 – John Thackara – In the Bubble
This text, pleasant and fluid for reading, starts from a simple and decisive consideration: if we are able to design ways to make life difficult, then it means that we can design others that can help us solve our problems. How? Through planning and design. The choices that are made during a correct design phase, shape the processes on the base of all the products we use, the materials and energy needed to make them. Today there are many designers who are committed to create better and sustainable services and infrastructures for the planet. John Thackara, in these pages, shows us a collection of ten basic rules to give life to simple projects, but able to improve our lives.
2- Andrew Hodges – Alan Turing, the enigma
This novel, from which the famous film “The Imitation Game” was based, traces the history of the great cryptographer and father of Computer Science: Alan Turing and how his collaboration with the allies was of crucial importance for the deciphering of “Enigma”, the cryptographic machine used by the German army during the Second World War. A true and compelling story, which describes, as a novel, this important and brilliant historical figure of the 20th century, which strongly contributed to the current technological developments.
3 – Ed Finn – What algorithms want. Imagination in the age of computing
Going from Adam Smith to the Start Trek computer, Ed Finn, director and founder of the Arizona State University “Center for Science and Imagination”, takes us with him to explore the gap between theoretical horizon and practical effects of the latest computer innovations and Artificial Intelligence, examining the development of Virtual Assistants such as Siri, the algorithmic aesthetics of Netflix, the revolutionary bitcoin economy, Google’s goal of being able to anticipate our every need, the exponential growth of Facebook and much more.
4 – Miguel Benesayag – The augmented brain, the decreased man
In this book Miguel Benesayag, a psychoanalyst and neuroscientist, investigates the role and theories of neurosciences that tend to retain the cognitive capacities of man “augmentable” thanks to recent technological supports. On the contrary, for the author, thinking that the human being can extend its own brain abilities working independently from its body, would be dangerous and impossible. Therefore, in the pages of his book, the author explains to us how the asymmetries that characterize and accompany us as human beings are, in fact, a primary and essential condition of our own life. The corporeity, therefore, is seen as inseparable from the same cognitive abilities of man.
5 – Kevin Kelly – What technology wants
In this engaging text, Kelly tells us that technology shouldn’t be seen as a complicated interweaving of threads, algorithms or metals, but as a truly evolving living organism, with its own needs and unconscious tendencies. It is only through this new way of understanding technology that it is possible for the human being to try to discover its direction and objectives. The author traces its history, following the trajectories of the main technologies of the near future to understand where they are going. According to the author, in fact, only listening to what technology wants can prepare us and our children to the technologies that will inevitably come, and only by aligning ourselves with the paradigms of this “almost-living” system will we be able to enjoy the best of its gifts. An exciting vision, that of Kelly, that goes beyond the distinction between human and artificial, between science and humanism.
Enjoy the reading and the holidays!