SUGGESTED BOOKS

Ben Goertzel

A Cosmist Manifesto: Practical Philosophy for the Posthuman Age

The term Cosmism was introduced by Tsiolokovsky and other Russian Cosmists around 1900. Goertzel's "Cosmist Manifesto" gives it new life and a new twist for the 21st century. Cosmism, as Goertzel presents it, is a practical philosophy for the posthuman era. Rooted in Western and Eastern philosophy as well as modern technology and science, it is a way of understanding ourselves and our universe that makes sense now, and will keep on making sense as advanced technology exerts its transformative impact as the future unfolds.

George M. Young

The Russian Cosmists: The Esoteric Futurism of Nikolai Fedorov and His Followers

The nineteenth and early twentieth century saw the emergence of a controversial school of Russian thinkers, led by the philosopher Nikolai Fedorov and united in the conviction that humanity was entering a new stage of evolution in which it must assume a new, active, managerial role in the cosmos. In the first account in English of this fascinating tradition, George M. Young offers a dynamic and wide-ranging examination of the lives and ideas of the Russian Cosmists.

Jeremiah P. Ostriker and Simon Mitton

 

Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe (Science Essentials)

 

Heart of Darkness describes the incredible saga of humankind's quest to unravel the deepest secrets of the universe. Over the past thirty years, scientists have learned that two little-understood components--dark matter and dark energy--comprise most of the known cosmos, explain the growth of all cosmic structure, and hold the key to the universe's fate. The story of how evidence for the so-called "Lambda-Cold Dark Matter" model of cosmology has been gathered by generations of scientists throughout the world is told here by one of the pioneers of the field

Wendell Wallach

A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control

We live in an age of awesome technological potential. From nanotechnology to synthetic organisms, new technologies stand to revolutionize whole domains of human experience. But with awesome potential comes awesome risk: drones can deliver a bomb as readily as they can a new smartphone; makers and hackers can 3D-print guns as well as tools; and supercomputers can short-circuit Wall Street just as easily as they can manage your portfolio

Edited by Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick

Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds

Intelligence Unbound explores the prospects, promises, and potential dangers of machine intelligence and uploaded minds in a collection of state-of-the-art essays from internationally recognized philosophers, AI researchers, science fiction authors, and theorists.

- Compelling and intellectually sophisticated exploration of the latest thinking on Artificial Intelligence and machine minds
- Features contributions from an international cast of philosophers, Artificial Intelligence researchers, science fiction authors, and more
- Offers current, diverse perspectives on machine intelligence and uploaded minds, emerging topics of tremendous interest
- Illuminates the nature and ethics of tomorrow’s machine minds—and of the convergence of humans and machines—to consider the pros and cons of a variety of intriguing possibilities
- Considers classic philosophical puzzles as well as the latest topics debated by scholars
- Covers a wide range of viewpoints and arguments regarding the prospects of uploading and machine intelligence, including proponents and skeptics, pros and cons

Max Tegmark

Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality

Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories, but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist. Fascinating from first to last—this is a book that has already prompted the attention and admiration of some of the most prominent scientists and mathematicians.

Nick Bostrom

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies 

Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

Hugo de Garis

The Artilect War: Cosmists vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines

The Artilect War — Cosmists vs. Terrans is concerned with the possibility of a bitter controversy about whether humanity should build godlike massively intelligent machines.
This chilling work of non-fiction poses the question: Which species will dominate the world in the next century - human beings or unbelievably intelligent and potentially hostile machines?

Eric Charles Steinhart

Your Digital Afterlives: Computational Theories of Life after Death (Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion)

Our digital technologies have inspired new ways of thinking about old religious topics. Digitalists include computer scientists, transhumanists, singularitarians, and futurists. Writers such as Moravec, Bostrom, Kurzweil, and Chalmers are digitalists. Although they are usually scientists, rationalists, and atheists, digitalists they have worked out novel and entirely naturalistic ways of thinking about bodies, minds, souls, universes, gods, and life after death. Your Digital Afterlives starts with three digitalist theories of life after death. It examines personality capture, body uploading, and promotion to higher levels of simulation. It then examines the idea that reality itself is ultimately a system of self-surpassing computations. On that view, you will have infinitely many digital lives across infinitely many digital worlds. Your Digital Afterlives looks at superhuman bodies and infinite bodies. Thinking of nature in purely computational terms has the potential to radically and positively change our understanding of life after death  

Jay Friedenberg

Artificial Psychology: The Quest for What It Means to Be Human

Is it possible to construct an artificial person? Researchers in the field of artificial intelligence have for decades been developing computer programs that emulate human intelligence. This book goes beyond intelligence and describes how close we are to recreating many of the other capacities that make us human. These abilities include learning, creativity, consciousness, and emotion.

The attempt to understand and engineer these abilities constitutes the new interdisciplinary field of artificial psychology, which is characterized by contributions from philosophy, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, computer science, and robotics. This work is intended for use as a main or supplementary introductory textbook for a course in cognitive psychology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, or the philosophy of mind. It examines human abilities as operating requirements that an artificial person must have and analyzes them from a multidisciplinary approach.

James J. Hughes

Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond To The Redesigned Human Of The Future

A provocative work by medical ethicist James Hughes, Citizen Cyborg argues that technologies pushing the boundaries of humanness can radically improve our quality of life if they are controlled democratically. Hughes challenges both the technophobia of Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama and the unchecked enthusiasm of others for limitless human enhancement. He argues instead for a third way, "democratic transhumanism," by asking the question destined to become a fundamental issue of the twenty-first century: How can we use new cybernetic and biomedical technologies

Clément Vidal

The Beginning and the End: The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective (The Frontiers Collection)

In this fascinating journey to the edge of science, Vidal takes on big philosophical questions: Does our universe have a beginning and an end or is it cyclic? Are we alone in the universe? What is the role of intelligent life, if any, in cosmic evolution? Grounded in science and committed to philosophical rigor, this book presents an evolutionary worldview where the rise of intelligent life is not an accident, but may well be the key to unlocking the universe's deepest mysteries. Vidal shows how the fine-tuning controversy can be advanced with computer simulations.

Robin Hanson

Robots may one day rule the world, but what is a robot-ruled Earth like?

Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or "ems." Scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer, and you have a robot brain, but recognizably human. Train an em to do some job and copy it a million times: an army of workers is at your disposal. When they can be made cheaply, within perhaps a century, ems will displace humans in most jobs. In this new economic era, the world economy may double in size every few weeks. Some say we can't know the future, especially following such a disruptive new technology, but Professor Robin Hanson sets out to prove them wrong. Applying decades of expertise in physics, computer science, and economics, he uses standard theories to paint a detailed picture of a world dominated by ems.


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