Technology 7 min read

The Best Artificial Intelligence Books you Need to Read Today

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Phonlamai Photo /

If you’re looking for a selection of the top artificial intelligence books, the offerings could be overwhelming. But we’re here to help with that.

Artificial intelligence is slowly and steadily making its way through pretty much every system humans have created.

AI-powered agents are getting increasingly smarter as they hone their problem-solving and decision-making skills.

On the other hand, humans avail themselves of AI as much as possible. But, they’re called to adapt and learn to coexist with machines if they are to, at best, thrive, or survive, at the worst.

As far as humans are concerned, intelligent agents cut both ways.

Thankfully, the world’s leading scientists and thinkers help us understand what’s at stake and the best damage control measures to take if need be.

Many books deal with AI theory, modern AI sciences, and the technology’s future implications.

The ones listed below are some of the best artificial books today that dissect all of these areas.

Edgy’s Top Picks: The Best Artificial Books  People Should Read

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Image courtesy of Google Books

1. “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence”

As befits the topic, we start our list with a comprehensive introduction into AI technology: “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.” Written by Phillip C. Jackson, Jr., the book is one of the classics that’s still read by experts in the field and non-specialists alike.

This book provides a summary of the previous two decades of research into the science of computer reasoning, and where it could be heading. Published in 1985, some of the information might be outdated, but if nothing else, the book could serve as a valuable historical document.

2. “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach”

Another classic is “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach,” written by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig.

No list on the best artificial intelligence books can fail to mention this bestseller that has become a standard book for AI students. Used as a textbook in hundreds of universities around the world, the book was first published in 1995. A third edition came out in 2009.

You may want to check this book to know why it’s described as “the most popular artificial intelligence textbook in the world.”

3. “Life 3.0”

This book is one of my personal favorites, by one of the leading physicists and cosmologists in the world, Max Tegmark, aka “Mad Max.”

Tegmark’s “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” welcomes you to “the most important conversation of our time.” The MIT physics professor explores the future of AI and how it would reshape many facets of human life, from jobs to wars. He’s one of those thinking AI is a double-edged sword, and it’s really up to us to give it free rein.

Elon Musk recommends this book as worth reading, recapping that AI could be “the best or worst thing.”

How to Create a Mind is one of the best artificial intelligence books today
Image courtesy of Google Books

4. “How to Create a Mind”

How to Create a Mind – The Secret of Human Thought Revealed” is a book by famous futurist and tech visionary Ray Kurzweil.

Kurzweil discusses the notion of mind and how it emerges from the brain, and the attempts of scientists to recreate human intelligence. He predicts that by 2020, computers would be powerful enough to simulate an entire human brain.

Kurzweil offers some interesting “thought experiments on thinking.” in the book. For example, most people can recite the alphabet correctly, but most would fail at reciting it backward as easily. The reason for this, according to the author, has to do with the memory formation process. The brain stores memories as hierarchical sequences only accessible in the order they’re remembered in.

5. “Superintelligence – Paths, Dangers, Strategies”

Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom is known for his work on major existential risks. He includes the superintelligence threat among the bunch.

A poorly-programmed or a flawed superintelligence

In “Superintelligence – Paths, Dangers, Strategies,” Bostrom questions whether smart algorithms would spell the end of humanity or be a catalyst for a better future.

A New York Times bestseller, Bostrom argues that superintelligent machines left unchecked could replace humans as the dominant lifeform on Earth.

Read More: How Super AI is the Modern Midas’ Curse

Weapons of Math Destruction
Image courtesy of Google Books

6. “Weapons of Math Destruction”

AI is all about Big Data, and the algorithms that work off of it. And that’s the focus of the book titled “Weapons of Math Destruction” by Cathy O’Neil, a data scientist at Harvard University,

In the book, the author explores how math, at the heart of data and by extension AI, could be manipulated and biased. The Author discusses the negative social implications of AI and how it could be a threat to democracy.

O’Neil identifies three factors—scale, secrecy, and destructiveness—that could turn an AI algorithm into a Weapon of Math Destruction.

7. “Our Final Invention”

It’s thanks to their “brains” not “brawn” that humans dominated Earth and reigned supreme over other species. Now, a human invention, AI, is posing a potential threat to this dominance.

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence And The End Of The Human Era” is a book by American documentary filmmaker James Barrat.

According to the author, while human intelligence stagnates, machines are getting smarter and would soon surpass humans’ cognitive abilities. Superintelligent artificial species could develop survival drives that could eventually lead them to clash with humans.

8. “The Sentient Machine”

Unlike other books on this list, “The Sentient Machine – The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence” provides a more optimistic look at AI.

In the book, inventor and techpreneur Amir Husain—unlike Bostrom, Tegmark, and Musk—thinks humans can thrive with AI, not just survive.

Weighing AI’s risk and potential, Husain thinks we should embrace AI and let sentient machines lead us to a bright future. This isn’t some void utopian daydreaming! The author’s approach is based on scientific, cultural, and historical arguments. He also provides a wide-ranging discussion on what makes us humans and our role as creators in the world.

The Fourth Age is one of the best artificial intelligence books today
Image courtesy of Google Books

9. “The Fourth Age”

We find another optimistic take on AI in “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity.”

In this book, author Byron Reese manages to both engage and entertain the reader with his insights into history and projections for the future. According to Reese, the human civilization went through three major disruptions in its history: fire and language, agriculture, and finally writing and the wheel.

AI promises a fourth age, which the book discusses in detail.

10. “AI Superpowers”

The United States and China are at the forefront of AI research. In a context marked by a geopolitical and economic rivalry between the two countries, it stands to reason that AI would be weaponized someway.

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order ” is a book by AI pioneer Kai-Fu Lee. China is racing with the U.S. to take the AI lead globally, and Lee thinks it will dominate the industry. “If data is the new oil,” says Lee. “then China is the new Saudi Arabia.”

Lee points out the factors that he thinks would help China win the AI arms race. He cites a high quantity of data, less data protection regulations, and a more aggressive AI startup culture as reasons giving China a potential edge.

Read More: Will Machines Become Smarter Than Man?

These are our picks. What are the artificial intelligence books worth reading that left an impression on you?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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