@AnthropicAI, ONEAI OECD, co-chair @indexingai, writer @ https://t.co/3vmtHY2zuU Past: @openai, @business @theregister. Neural nets, distributed systems, weird futures
10+ Book Recommendations by Jack Clark
Children of Time
Adrian TchaikovskyAdrian Tchaikovksy's award-winning novel Children of Time, is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Who will inherit this new Earth? The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind's worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?span
George DysonPresents the history of the invention of computers, describing the collaboration of John von Neumann and his colleagues as they worked together to create the first computer, an event which led to the hydrogen bomb and the birth of the digital age.
Stephen Baxter“Reading Manifold: Time is like sending your mind to the gym for a brisk workout. If you don’t feel both exhausted and exhilirated when you’re done, you haven’t been working hard enough.”—The New York Times Book Review The year is 2010. More than a century of ecological damage, industrial and technological expansion, and unchecked population growth has left the Earth on the brink of devastation. As the world’s governments turn inward, one man dares to envision a bolder, brighter future. That man, Reid Malenfant, has a very different solution to the problems plaguing the planet: the exploration and colonization of space. Now Malenfant gambles the very existence of time on a single desperate throw of the dice. Battling national sabotage and international outcry, as apocalyptic riots sweep the globe, he builds a spacecraft and launches it into deep space. The odds are a trillion to one against him. Or are they? “A staggering novel! If you ever thought you understood time, you’ll be quickly disillusioned when you read Manifold: Time.”—Sir Arthur C. Clarke
I'm halfway through The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. How good is it? I started reading it this morning and here I am, five hours later, with a crazed expression texting everyone I know about it. An amazing book to read during this era of pandemic and climate collapse.
Simulations (Foreign Agents Series)
Jean BaudrillardBaudrillard's bewildering thesis, a bold extrapolation on Ferdinand de Saussure's general theory of general linguistics, is in fact a clinical vision of contemporary consumer societies where signs don't refer anymore to anything except themselves. They all are generated by the matrix. Simulations never existed as a book before it was "translated" into English. Actually it came from two different bookCovers written at different times by Jean Baudrillard. The first part of Simulations, and most provocative because it made a fiction of theory, was "The Procession of Simulacra." It had first been published in Simulacre et Simulations (1981). The second part, written much earlier and in a more academic mode, came from L'Echange Symbolique et la Mort (1977). It was a half-earnest, half-parodical attempt to "historicize" his own conceit by providing it with some kind of genealogy of the three orders of appearance: the Counterfeit attached to the classical period; Production for the industrial era; and Simulation, controlled by the code. It was Baudrillard's version of Foucault's Order of Things and his ironical commentary of the history of truth. The book opens on a quote from Ecclesiastes asserting flatly that "the simulacrum is true." It was certainly true in Baudrillard's book, but otherwise apocryphal.One of the most influential essays of the 20th century, Simulations was put together in 1983 in order to be published as the first little black book of Semiotext(e)'s new Foreign Agents Series. Baudrillard's bewildering thesis, a bold extrapolation on Ferdinand de Saussure's general theory of general linguistics, was in fact a clinical vision of contemporary consumer societies where signs don't refer anymore to anything except themselves. They all are generated by the matrix.In effect Baudrillard's essay (it quickly became a must to read both in the art world and in academe) was upholding the only reality there was in a world that keeps hiding the fact that it has none. Simulacrum is its own pure simulacrum and the simulacrum is true. In his celebrated analysis of Disneyland, Baudrillard demonstrates that its childish imaginary is neither true nor false, it is there to make us believe that the rest of America is real, when in fact America is a Disneyland. It is of the order of the hyper-real and of simulation. Few people at the time realized that Baudrillard's simulacrum itself wasn't a thing, but a "deterrence machine," just like Disneyland, meant to reveal the fact that the real is no longer real and illusion no longer possible. But the more impossible the illusion of reality becomes, the more impossible it is to separate true from false and the real from its artificial resurrection, the more panic-stricken the production of the real is.
- This near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from Cixin Liu, China's most beloved science fiction author. In The Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion-in just four centuries' time. The aliens' human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth's defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead. The Remembrance of Earth's Past Trilogy The Three-Body Problem The Dark Forest Death's End Other Books Ball Lightning (forthcoming)
Ken LiuBroken Stars, edited by multi award-winning writer Ken Liu--translator of the bestselling and Hugo Award-winning novel The Three Body Problem by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu-- is his second thought-provoking anthology of Chinese short speculative fiction. Following Invisible Planets, Liu has now assembled the most comprehensive collection yet available in the English language, sure to thrill and gratify readers developing a taste and excitement for Chinese SF. Some of the included authors are already familiar to readers in the West (Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang, both Hugo winners); some are publishing in English for the first time. Because of the growing interest in newer SFF from China, virtually every story here was first published in Chinese in the 2010s. The stories span the range from short-shorts to novellas, and evoke every hue on the emotional spectrum. Besides stories firmly entrenched in subgenres familiar to Western SFF readers such as hard SF, cyberpunk, science fantasy, and space opera, the anthology also includes stories that showcase deeper ties to Chinese culture: alternate Chinese history, chuanyue time travel, satire with historical and contemporary allusions that are likely unknown to the average Western reader. While the anthology makes no claim or attempt to be "representative" or “comprehensive," it demonstrates the vibrancy and diversity of science fiction being written in China at this moment. In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore the history of Chinese science fiction publishing, the state of contemporary Chinese fandom, and how the growing interest in science fiction in China has impacted writers who had long labored in obscurity. Stories include: “Goodnight, Melancholy” by Xia Jia “The Snow of Jinyang” by Zhang Ran “Broken Stars” by Tang Fei “Submarines” by Han Song “Salinger and the Koreans” by Han Song “Under a Dangling Sky” by Cheng Jingbo “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear” by Baoshu “The New Year Train” by Hao Jingfang “The Robot Who Liked to Tell Tall Tales” by Fei Dao “Moonlight” by Liu Cixin “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Laba Porridge" by Anna Wu “The First Emperor’s Games” by Ma Boyong “Reflection” by Gu Shi “The Brain Box” by Regina Kanyu Wang “Coming of the Light” by Chen Qiufan “A History of Future Illnesses” by Chen Qiufan Essays: “A Brief Introduction to Chinese Science Fiction and Fandom,” by Regina Kanyu Wang, “A New Continent for China Scholars: Chinese Science Fiction Studies” by Mingwei Song “Science Fiction: Embarrassing No More” by Fei Dao For more Chinese SF in translation, check out Invisible Planets.
Daniel YerginDeemed "the best history of oil ever written" by Business Week and with more than 300,000 copies in print, Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning account of the global pursuit of oil, money, and power has been extensively updated to address the current energy crisis.
This Is How You Lose the Time War
Amal El-Mohtar“[An] exquisitely crafted tale...Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay...This short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review). From award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone comes an enthralling, romantic novel spanning time and space about two time-traveling rivals who fall in love and must change the past to ensure their future. Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandment finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean the death of each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win. That’s how war works, right? Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.
After the Ice
Steven J. MithenBrings to life fifteen thousand years of human history in a study that follows an imaginary modern traveler who visits and observes prehistoric communities and landscapes that laid the foundations of the modern world.
Daniel YerginThe Prize recounts the panoramic history of oil -- and the struggle for wealth power that has always surrounded oil. This struggle has shaken the world economy, dictated the outcome of wars, and transformed the destiny of men and nations. The Prize is as much a history of the twentieth century as of the oil industry itself. The canvas of this history is enormous -- from the drilling of the first well in Pennsylvania through two great world wars to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Operation Desert Storm. The cast extends from wildcatters and rogues to oil tycoons, and from Winston Churchill and Ibn Saud to George Bush and Saddam Hussein. The definitive work on the subject of oil and a major contribution to understanding our century, The Prize is a book of extraordinary breadth, riveting excitement -- and great importance.
@riakall This isn't really AI, but I'd recommend you read "The Prize", which is a history of the evolution of oil from discovery to Standard Oil, etc. A really useful book for informing thoughts about money/capital, power, geopolitics, tech, etc. I learned a lot from it, I think.
Cixin Liu"Wildly imaginative." —Barack Obama on The Three-Body Problem trilogy A new science fiction adventure from the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Three-Body Trilogy. When Chen’s parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station. The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier. While Chen’s quest for answers gives purpose to his lonely life, it also pits him against soldiers and scientists with motives of their own: a beautiful army major with an obsession with dangerous weaponry, and a physicist who has no place for ethical considerations in his single-minded pursuit of knowledge. Ball Lightning, by award-winning Chinese science fiction author Cixin Liu, is a fast-paced story of what happens when the beauty of scientific inquiry runs up against the drive to harness new discoveries with no consideration of their possible consequences. Tor books by Cixin Liu The Remembrance of Earth's Past The Three-Body Problem The Dark Forest Death's End