“I don’t want to really scare you, but it was alarming how many people I talked to who are highly placed people in AI who have retreats that are sort of 'bug out' houses, to which they could flee if it all hits the fan.”

- James Barrat, Author, Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era


Reading the latest books ensures that you develop and understand different perspectives on a subject. Artificial intelligence has rapidly changed and continues to change the way we perform our daily tasks and operate businesses. Its fast progress may leave many professionals feeling like they’re struggling to keep pace with the developments. To ensure that you stay ahead of the curve as an AI professional, it is necessary to keep updating yourself about fresh perspectives about the technology. Here are some recommended reads for 2019 to help you understand the AI revolution, grasp its impact, as well as be better prepared for an AI-driven future.


1. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

book cover with man with arms raised looking up


This book was named the Book of the Year in 2018 byThe Daily Telegraph as well as The Times. A personal favorite of Elon Musk, the book revolves around Tegmark, a physicist and cosmologist by profession. Tegmark sets out to differentiate the myths of AI from reality in an approachable way. The author manages to answer some very challenging questions about creating a prosperous world with AI and how to protect AI from being hacked. It is a book which aims to help the layperson understand the areas that will be most affected by AI in our day-to-day lives.


2. Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson

book cover with the words human machine written on it


This book is written by Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Accenture and James Wilson, Managing Director of IT and Business Research, Accenture. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it has a focus on the business applications and implications of AI. The authors demonstrate that the transformation of all business processes in an organization is the essence of the AI paradigm shift. The book talks about the business areas where humans and machines are working closely together today and reveals the various ways in which companies are leveraging advancements in AI technology for more profitability.


3. Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

book cover of AI robot face looking up


This is an excellent book on AI that considers the dangers of anthropomorphizing artificial general intelligence (AGI), and notes that superintelligence is a completely different type of threat. In this book, James Barrat talks about the various agencies and governments that are invested in researching artificial general intelligence (AGI). Many experts and scientists today believe that once the goal of AGI is achieved, machines will have a survival drive that’s almost similar to humans. Barratt discusses this further and concludes that artificial super intelligence (ASI) will eventually become a threat to the human race.


4. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

book cover with owl on it


Animals lack the capabilities that a human brain possesses, making the human race the dominant species on earth today. Nick Bostrom discusses the implications for if this dominant position is compromised due to machine superintelligence. Like many other philosophical works, this book, too, asks more questions than it answers. It talks about the time when machines will surpass human intelligence and whether this will turn out to be positive or negative for mankind. If a day like that ever occurs, the fate of humans will more or less be dependent on machine superintelligence, much like the fate of gorillas depends on humans today. This book is quite ambitious and carefully makes its path through an intellectual terrain we’d all like to be able to ignore.


5. The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil

cover of a book which is black with designs on it


Ray Kurzweil is known for his respected opinions about the role of technology in the future. In The Age of Spiritual Machines, his classic book, he discussed how computers were soon going to rival human intelligence. In The Singularity is Near, he dives into super artificial intelligence and describes singularity from a fresh perspective. Kurzweil says that singularity is the point at which the intelligence of machines and humans will merge. And once that happens, there will be no stopping these machines.


Closing Thoughts


Apart from the above five, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealedby Ray Kurzweil, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Peter Norvig, The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos, Machine Learning Yearning by Andrew NG, and Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford are also some great artificial intelligence books for beginners. Go ahead and get lost in the rich history, current advancements, as well as the fascinating fictional world. Hope this list will guide you develop a multifaceted view of artificial intelligence.


Prajakta Patil
Prajakta has 7 years of experience in content development. As an Editor for Toolbox, she handles the Expert Insights and Quick Reads columns. Previously, she has worked as a Content Editor at Times Internet Limited and a Sub-editor at Buzzle Software Solutions. She has also worked with various newspapers in the initial years of her career. Passionate about child welfare, Prajakta works with LetsRISE to help underprivileged children of human trafficking victims. A complete wanderlust at heart, she loves spending time with her dogs.