Five essential books from technology optimists
Five best books from tech optimists
Technology is fantastic. The world will become so much better with technology. We will cure all diseases, solve all crisis. Technology will teach us to love each other. We will live forever, upload our minds and we will never be lonely again. Or, so do these technology optimist think.
Number one on our list is Mr. Singularity himself, Ray Kurzweil. He wrote the book The Singularity is near. By 2045, our computer, genetic, nano, and robotics technologies will have advanced exponentially, to the point where they will exceed human intelligence and, in effect, grant us nearly anything we want. That is the essential premise of this book of technological optimism.
In the book Kurzweil explains the “law of accelerating returns” (expanded from the original Moore’s law). A law that will dominate most of the technology endeavours over time. Thus bringing a centrality in the technology over the human components into our future.
Ray's book is very optimistic about all technological developments but, beware, an uneasy feeling lurks for the reader. Do we really want this? Does this really feel good? Somehow it also feels uncanny, especially when you know that this book was written in 2005.
If you do not like reading the book. Here is the original Ted Talk:
Under Fully Automated Luxury Communism,” writes Aaron Bastani in our second book towards the conclusion of this short, dizzyingly confident manifesti, “we will see more of the world than ever before, eat varieties of food we have never heard of, and lead lives equivalent – if we so wish – to those of today’s billionaires. Luxury will pervade everything as society based on waged work becomes as much a relic as the feudal peasant ...”
In the doomy world of 2019 (the year of the book), to come across this forecast is quite a shock. Enormous optimism about humanity’s long-term future; faith in technology, and in our wise use of it; a guilt-free enthusiasm for material goods; and yet also a belief that an updated form of communism should be 21st-century society’s organising principle.
And, for those who do not like to read (shame on you!), here is the talk:
The third book is the future of mind by Micho Kaiku. The book deals with the future of the mind. Sometimes very technical, but full of interesting images and a future with very different brain-machine interfaces. We have also seen him perform. Our conclusion: he talks funnier than he writes! His prediction on smart Barbies is hilarious.
Kaku is not shy about quoting science-fiction movies and TV (he has seen them all). Despite going off the deep end musing about phenomena such as isolated consciousness spreading throughout the universe, he delivers ingenious predictions extrapolated from good research already in progress.
Kevin Kelly wrote The Inevitable. The book discusses a very wide array of technological developments. The internet itself, virtual reality, e-money, robotics, gamifying, artificial intelligence, crowd sourcing, product as a service, and internet of things are just a few of the topics that are covered comprehensively.
The enthusiasm of Kevin Kelly jumps off the page from start to finish. His positive attitude towards the future, and the unlimited possibilities he delineates, are inspiring. The Inevitable describes a future full of opportunities. It provides a positive view on a society in which technology is prospering, and it makes the reader want to skip the next 25 years to step into an exciting new world.
Our last book, Exponential by Azeem Azhar is an example book. It is a typical techno-optimistic book with all the classic examples we all know (AlphaZero, anyone?). How do you recognize a techno-optimistic book? It has a exponential growth curve on the cover. Entrepreneur Azeem, has nothing new to say, but does this very convincing and runs a newsletter with 150,000 subscribers. So, if you want to take a peak into the mind of a true techno-optimist and a glimpse into the soul of someone who still think technology is a neutral force of nature, this is the book for you.
It is recommended because if you really want to learn about the impact of technology, you need to learn from both optimist and pessimists and form your own opinion. Azeem's book truly is an uber-optimistic view of the future.
This list of books is the result of your suggestions. Do you have a suggestion for an even better book from a techno optimist? Let us know with the contact form below and also let us know which book should be removed from the list.