The best books about artificial intelligence (and what they tell us about human intelligence)

The Books I Picked & Why

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

By Max Tegmark

Book cover of Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Why this book?

This book looks into a distant future when machines are much more capable than humans of doing absolutely everything. How do we ensure humanity continues to flourish? Max is a physicist and he thinks on a much longer time scale than the rest of us. But he does so in an entertaining and provocative way.


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Klara and the Sun

By Kazuo Ishiguro

Book cover of Klara and the Sun

Why this book?

It is perhaps not surprising but one of the best books about Artificial Intelligence is written, in my view, not by a technologist but by a Nobel Laureate of literature. This is a poignant look at what it is to be human in a time of intelligent machines, of love, and loss. This is a tale as much about humanity as it is about Artificial Intelligence.


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Machines Like Me

By Ian McEwan

Book cover of Machines Like Me

Why this book?

This is another wonderful book about Artificial Intelligence written not by a technologist but by one of the greatest living writers, Ian McEwan. Again the story is as much about what it is to be human as it is about super-intelligent machines. But this is not surprising. AI is ultimately one of the most important scientific questions of the next 100 years for precisely this – what it tells us about us, as much as what it tells us about intelligent machines.


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Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

By Douglas R. Hofstadter

Book cover of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Why this book?

This is the book that enticed many of my colleagues into working on Artificial Intelligence. A polymath's exploration into fundamental and beautiful ideas in mathematics, music, and the mind. I was lucky enough to spend some time working in the same lab as Hoftstadter, a polymath who draws together art, science, and philosophy in this thought-provoking exploration of three great minds.


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The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive

By Brian Christian

Book cover of The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive

Why this book?

This is an entertaining and lighter read than my other recommendations about AI. It is specifically about chatbots trying to pass the Turing Test, and ultimately is a witty story of what it means to be human. For anyone who has ever mistaken an answerphone for a person, or a person for an answerphone!


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