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Reading List from Emerging Technologies Closing Plenary

Thursday, November 16, 2017  

Another great TAG conference is behind us! Below is a list of Audible books that were mentioned in the closing plenary on Emerging Technology. If interested in receiving a complimentary copy of one of these Audible titles, please choose one and let Tim Dechant ( know the email to which you would like the free copy sent. If you have already received a free Audible book in the past, let him know that too as it changes how this is processed with Audible.

The write ups below the titles are from the three Emerging Technology presenters who read all of these books in preparation for the session. The links below include full descriptions and reviews on Audible.

The Fourth Transformation – How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything (link)
Great book on the different interface changes and how AR/VR/MR is the first big change in decades. Provides wonderful historical context for these changes and really explains the emerging changes with AR/VR/MR well … including direct research based on field experiences. Also covers some very interesting possible implications of this latest transformation – the longest chapter is entitled “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”.

Future Crimes – Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It (link)
This is a scary good read. Covers some of the “here and now” uses of AI and other technologies utilized by cybercriminals. Discusses how AI and genetics is and may be used by criminals in the future. After reading, you may be compelled to disconnect all your devices and protect your DNA.

Machines of Loving Grace – The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots (link)
Focus here is on the relationship of the machines to humans. A bit heavy on the history of robotics and AI, and tended to jump around on the historical timeline. Offers an interesting perspective on the fundamental challenges with AI and how these are attempting to be (or should be) managed.

Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow (link)
Deep, deep, deep – essentially, and analysis of man’s quest to upgrade themselves into Gods. Great perspective setter on how much progress mankind has actually made over our history. Very challenging and deep concepts … you may not want to choose this one if you would be offended to have any traditional religious beliefs called into question.

The Rational Optimist – How Prosperity Evolves (link)
Like Homo Deus, but without the deep elements (e.g. challenges to traditional religious teachings). This is a great perspective setting look at how far we have advanced and counters much of what we hear in the news about how bad things are in the world. Definitely a nice offset to the doom and gloom viewpoint of our day to day media (more Kurzweil/Diamandis and less Hawkings/Musk).

Weapons of Math Destruction – How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (link)
Cathy O’Neil, in addition to being a distinguished mathematician, is a rare species: the data contrarian. She has a credible and cautionary story to tell. In a world being submerged under a growing flood of data, more and more power is concentrated in algorithms for determining risk, pricing, employment, education, and may other domains that affect all of our lives. O’Neil believes those algorithms are black boxes that require transparency, oversight and regulation to avoid a society in which discrimination and inequality are created and reinforced (inadvertently or by design) by mathematical formulae. Her examples are sound, and her logic is unadorned.

A Harvard PhD in mathematics who taught at MIT and Columbia before becoming a hedge fund quant, she witnessed first hand the role algorithms played in the financial crisis. Disillusioned and gravely concerned about the risks that big data and algorithms pose to society, she’s calling for us to "explicitly embed better values into our algorithms, creating Big Data models that follow our ethical lead. Sometimes that will mean putting fairness ahead of profit.” “Models are opinions embedded in mathematics”, she asserts in this book, and that "despite their reputation for impartiality, reflect goals and ideology”. It’s a compelling argument that should give us pause as we race towards an AI future.

Robopocalypse – A Novel (link)
Fear the walking … robots. When Alexa goes wild and Skynet drops the net, you’ve got nowhere to run, ‘cause they are in your house, in your car, and talking to your kids. A near-future thriller of robotic zombies and a killer AI; the stuff of Elan Musk’s nightmares. Sure, it’s cheap sci-fi, but it’s fun. Just a thriller… yea, that’s the ticket. Written by a Ph.D. in Robotics—and the author of a nonfiction book entitled “How to Survive a Robot Uprising,” the tech is all too real.


Tim Dechant |Chief Partnership Officer
Information Technology Partners, Inc.
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