The Future's so Bright...
...I Gotta Wear Shades
We live with a pace of accelerating change where tools constantly emerge that make our lives easier and enhance our ability to communicate and get things done. As a businessperson being well versed in technology trends and their impact on social behavior is critical.
Entire industries, and the careers and jobs that go with them, are being eaten by software and radically disrupted. Here is a curated catalogue of the best books to get you up to speed and ahead of the curve.
In The Future, former US Vice President Al Gore, explores the political, social and economic forces that are shaping what America and the world will become in ensuing decades. From demographics to democracy, Gore explores what he calls the 'Drivers of Global Change', framing the international conversation about the future in fresh and provocative ways.
The ideas laid out in this book became the template criteria for Al Gore's super successful investment fund.
Walter Isaacson, one of my favorite thinkers calls The New Digital Age “the most important - and fascinating - book yet written about how the digital age will affect our world”
From two leading thinkers, this book details the hugely connected world of the near future, full of challenges and benefits, which are ours to meet and harness, or be swamped by. The fake new phenomenon is one radically new development that this book helps put in context.
The New Digital Age is the product of collaboration: full of the insights of one of Silicon Valley's great innovators - what Bill Gates was to Microsoft and Steve Jobs was to Apple, Schmidt (along with Larry Page and Sergey Brin) was to Google - and the Director of Google Ideas, Jared Cohen, formerly an advisor to both Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.
The Gene is a survey of the scientific breakthroughs that have brought us to the place where scientists and doctors now understand the chemical makeup of units of heredity: genes. I knew many of the stories of discovery detailed in this book but realize now how unclear my contextual understanding of how these transitions in knowledge fit together and marched inexorably from science, the discovery of truth, to technology: the ability to manipulate.
We now stand at a threshold and biology, and consequent life, is going to change radically in the coming decades. Now we are gaining a deeper understanding of disease states and how to cure them. We are also able on the brink of hacking evolution and improving our capabilities (see Homo Deus below)
The Gene provides the story of where we are and how we got here with biotechnology and medicine and looks at where we may be going.
Siddhartha Mukherjee is one of our best writers and has the ability to make this staggering tale comprehensible and fascinating. His previous book The Emperor of All Maladies is a must read to understand cancer and medicine. These two books will get you up to speed on biotechnology. You need to be versed in this conversation.
SAPIENS, Yuval Noah Harari’s previous book that came out in 2011. It is a history of us, homo sapiens. We have only been in existance less that 200,000 years and our cognitive growth took an explosive turn around 70,000 years ago. Sapiens details our history and that evolution lies behind the ascent of homo sapiens and our current domination of Earth. It is a fascinating book.
His new book, Homo Deus, starts where Sapiens left off and heads into the speculative future. Dr. Harari proclaims that the old nemesis of mankind— plague, famine and war—are no longer fateful givens. “For the first time in history, more people die today from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals combined.” The challenges of the third millennium will be how to navigate positive outcomes and achieve immortality, happiness and the divinity of the title. Deus in the sense of enhancing people’s physical and cognitive abilities beyond our current biological limitations.
Steven Kotler has written a number of staggeringly innovative books. He wrote Abundance and Bold with Peter Diamandis. And he and his partner Dr. Jaimie Wheal run the Flow Genome Project dedicated to hacking flow states.
In The Rise of Superman Steven Kotler decodes the mystery of ultimate human performance. Drawing on over a decade of research and first-hand interviews with dozens of top action and adventure sports athletes such as big–wave legend Laird Hamilton, big–mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones, and skateboarding pioneer Danny Way, Kotler explores the frontier science of “flow,” an optimal state of consciousness where we perform and feel our best.
Building a bridge between the extreme and the mainstream, The Rise of Superman explains how these athletes are using flow to do the impossible and how we can use this information to radically accelerate our performance in our own lives.
This is a book about profound possibility. It is an exploration of how extreme athletes break the limits of ultimate human performance and what we can learn from their mastery of the state of consciousness known as “flow”
The Digital Age is as transformative and disruptive as the Industrial Revolution. In The Seventh Sense Joshua Cooper Ramo explains how to navigate it. He was editor of Time magazine and runs Henry Kissinger’s consulting firm. He lives half the time in China and has a global perspective.
He is a policy expert who has advised the most powerful nations and corporations. Drawing on examples from business, science, and politics, Ramo illuminates the changes propelling the world into the future. His first book The Age of the Unthinkable is also a must read.
Norbert Wiener coined the term cybernetics in 1948 and defined it as "the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine." Rise of the Machines is a brilliant history of cybernetics; the interaction of humans and machines.
It weaves together threads in the history of technology, from the invention of radar, turret guns, and pilotless flying bombs in World War Two to today’s age of networks, crypto-currencies and computers.
Rise of the Machines is a indispensable contribution to the advancement of our understanding of the future and of the past that has generated it. It is a great look at where we are going and how we got here.
Dr. Brynjolfsson and Dr. McAfee are super sharp professors from MIT who have concluded an optimistic and intriguing hypothesis about our future trajectory — that the global economy is on the cusp of a dramatic growth spurt driven by smart machines that finally take full advantage of advances in computer processing, artificial intelligence, networked communication, IoT, and the digitization of everything.
We are entering The Second Machine Age.
The drivers of the third wave of industrial revolution will be robotics, digitally driven markets, human genome mapping, and globalization. As with the first two waves, there will be winners and losers in the wake of this creative destruction. The Industries of the Future details these trends with great insight.
Alec Ross is well qualified to write on the subject. He traveled extensively exploring globalization’s impact as the State Department’s senior innovation adviser during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary.
Alvin and Heidi Toffler have been forecasting the future with visionary acuity for a half-century.
"Between now and the 21st century, millions of ordinary, psychologically normal people will face an abrupt collision with the future," They prophesied at the start of the 1970 best seller Future Shock.
"The Collapse of Hierarchy" and "A Superabundance of Selves" are two section headings in Future Shock and they were presented as exciting and liberating developments. The Tofflers believe that rampant technological, economic and cultural innovation are a good thing once we learned how to deal with it.
Revolutionary Wealth builds on the platform of their previous books. It discusses clashes among First Wave (agrarian), Second Wave (industrialized) and Third Wave (postindustrial, or "knowledge-based") societies. They argue convincingly that we are on the verge of a post-scarcity world that will slash poverty and "unlock countless opportunities and new life trajectories," if we can identify and avoid the rapidly escalating risks to this progress. I’m all in!
If you are a student of the future, technology and science then you probably have some ideas you should think about patenting.
You can file your patent for under $500 and the average value of an issued patent is $1 million. This is lucrative work and well worth your time to learn.
Drafting a patent application is a surprisingly straightforward process. The hard part is having the idea of an invention. If you have ideas of things you think could be patented you owe it to yourself to read this book and draft an application.
Patent It Yourself! shows you how.
You only need two things:
- Access to a computer with a word processor
- Access to the Internet
Steve Case was the co-founder of America OnLine AOL. In The Third Wave he presents his roadmap for the future and helps us make sense of the technological changes reshaping our economy and the world.
His insights are the result of his experience scaling the first internet company and as a venture capitalist investing in future inflected industries. He is a sensible practical visionary.
Get ready for it ‘cause here it comes. Software and digital revolution have been devouring industries and now its capitalism’s turn. Postcapitalism is a brilliant analysis of historical trends, their current convergence and where we are heading. A new way of living is in the process of formation. Marx was correct.
Over the coming decades, Artificial Intelligence will profoundly impact the way we live, work, wage war, play, seek a mate, educate our young, and care for our elderly. It is likely to greatly increase our aggregate wealth, but it will also upend our labor markets, reshuffle our social order, and strain our private and public institutions. Eventually it may alter how we see our place in the universe, as machines pursue goals independent of their creators and outperform us in domains previously believed to be the sole dominion of humans.
Jerry Kaplan is a serial entrepreneur, Artificial Intelligence expert, technical innovator, bestselling author, and futurist, and is best known for his key role in defining the tablet computer industry as founder of GO Corporation in 1987. He is also the author of Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure.