The 11 Best Books on AI: Preparing for Future Technology

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Is artificial intelligence a problem or solution for humanity? What are the best books on AI to read right now?

Determining AI as a problem or solution isn’t so simple. There’s still so much we don’t know about it, despite our hand in creating it, but there are many experts out there who can help you learn more about the potential benefits and risks of computer intelligence.

Below we’ll look at the best books on AI that warn about the evolving technology and advise how to live with it.

Artificial Intelligence Reading

Perhaps the best way to learn more about AI is to go straight to the experts. The best books on AI were written by AI developers or authors who have done extensive research in the field of machine intelligence.

Life 3.0

Life on Earth has drastically transformed since it first began. The first single-celled organisms could do little more than replicate themselves. Fast-forward to today: Humans have built a civilization so complex that it would be utterly incomprehensible to the lifeforms that came before us. Judging by recent technological strides, physicist Max Tegmark believes that an equally revolutionary change is underway—artificial intelligence may become more capable than the human brain, making us the simplistic lifeforms.

In this 2017 book, you’ll learn about cutting-edge technological theories that will help you better understand our rapidly changing world. The book examines the evidence that an artificial superintelligence might soon exist, explores the theoretical limits of its power, and speculates about the impact this AI might have on humanity. 

The Singularity Is Near

The rapid pace of technological change has impacted our lives and world in many ways, and our headlong rush into the future may have staggering implications for our species. In The Singularity Is Near, published in 2005, computer scientist Ray Kurzweil predicts that a profound technological shift will change everything about how we live, how society functions, and even what it means to be human. From using genetics to reprogram the body to having the power to digitally augment our brains, the technological Singularity will lead to a future in which even death may one day be forgotten.

In this book, Kurzweil explores the ongoing revolutions that together may overturn our current order—bioscience, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. Readers will also learn Kurzweil’s predictions for these technologies, as well as some of their potential dangers.


According to philosopher and University of Oxford professor Nick Bostrom, there’s a very real possibility that AI could one day rival, and then vastly exceed, human intelligence. When and if this happens, the future of humankind will depend more on AI-generated decisions than human decisions, just as the survival of many animal species has depended more on human decisions than those of the animals in question ever since humans became more intelligent than other animals.

Depending on how AI behaves, creating it could solve some of humanity’s most persistent problems. Alternatively, Bostrom’s 2014 book Superintelligence says that it could be the worst—and last—mistake in human history.

Homo Deus

For millennia, humans struggled with three serious problems—famine, plagues, and war—which led to the deaths of millions of people and to the rise and fall of global empires. People coped with these problems and answered life’s questions with religion. However, in the modern era, we no longer rely on prayer—we’ve mostly overcome these three problems through the development of technology and medical knowledge. 

In the 2015 book Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, envisions a future in which technology replaces humanist ideals and liberal government. Dissecting the concepts of religion, immortality, and technology, Harari argues that the world of the future may be run by advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence, not human beings. 

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

The 21st century is bringing changes and challenges unlike any humans have encountered before. Globalism and technological innovations are changing the structures of societies worldwide—and the changes are happening quickly. 

If people don’t face these challenges and help shape the future, the world could have a class of obsolete workers whose jobs have been automated and people could lose their ability to make their own decisions. In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, published in 2018, Yuval Noah Harari highlights the biggest challenges in the modern world, including artificial intelligence, and he offers advice on making sense of and navigating such transitional times. 

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid 

Douglas Hofstadter argues that all human beings are a system—a map of neurons firing at one another to create a consciousness. So, if human consciousness can derive from a formal system, who’s to say that a computer intelligence won’t do the same?

In the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Hofstadter discusses how “meaningless” systems can acquire meaningful context. By reading the 1979 book, you’ll learn how cognition is born through neurological processes, a theory of intelligence that even computers can live by.

AI Superpowers

Artificial intelligence is certainly a scary proposition in the US, but Kai-Fu Lee says that China is already steps ahead of the US in AI development. Seeing the advancements already made in AI technology, Lee urges countries to accept this newfound technology and learn to live with it.

In AI Superpowers, published in 2018, Lee addresses concerns over AI’s impact on the work industry, specifically detailing which jobs humans will likely lose. On one hand, he argues that blue-collar workers will suffer from AI domination. On the other hand, there’s an argument that white-collar workers will benefit from AI technologies.

Scary Smart

Mo Gawdat claims that, by 2049, AI will be a billion times smarter than humans. How can we save humanity from being left in the dust? Gawdat’s book Scary Smart says that it’s our responsibility to ensure AI preserves our species.

Published in 2021, this book provides a pathway to saving humanity and the world while also preparing for the inevitable rise of AI as a new intelligence. It’s not enough to avoid AI altogether—humans must learn to co-exist with it.

Our Final Invention

The development of AI could be our greatest invention in human history, but it also could be our last. There’s a chance that AI won’t stop at general intelligence but become a superintelligence over time.

James Barrat’s book Our Final Invention is one of the best books on AI, containing interviews with AI experts and researchers about the possibility of AI domination. The 2013 book also covers the history of AI and poses a warning for possible human extinction due to the advanced technology.

Human Compatible

In 2019, computer scientist Stuart J. Russell warned about the existential risk to humanity due to the growing intelligence of machines and computers. If they become too intelligent, computers and humans may engage in an inevitable conflict that threatens jobs, relationships, and civilization.

Human Compatible explores the concept of artificial intelligence and its relationship to humans and offers a solution to the risk. The only way Russell believes humans can live in the time of newer intelligence is by rebuilding AI to be uncertain about human preferences while also calling for tighter government regulations on AI research to retain human autonomy.

2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity

In 2020, mathematician and philosopher John Lennox offered a Christian perspective on the growing presence of artificial intelligence in the world. If you ever feel morally conflicted about the quest for a technology that surpasses human intelligence, Christianity has the answers.

2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity questions the possibility of our world recreating George Orwell’s surveillance society in 1984. To back up his theory, Lennox examines what AI is capable of (as of the book’s publishing date) and the potential risks and benefits of the technology in the future.

Final Words

To approach AI with an open mind, we must have a better understanding of it. Otherwise, our deepest fears about AI overpowering humanity may come true. Reading the best books on AI development and implications is a great place to start.

Can this list of the best books on AI be expanded? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below!

The 11 Best Books on AI: Preparing for Future Technology

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Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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