Books About Living in the Digital Age

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Over the past few decades, technology has been woven into the fabric of human life so much that most people are now constantly surrounded by screens, using programs and algorithms to make their lives easier. Check out one of these books if you’ve been pondering the many ways in which our lives are (and will be) shaped by emerging technology:

Soonish by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith – Presents an illustrated investigation into the technologies of the near future, from deep-space travel to 3D organ printing, to offer insight into how they will work and what is needed to advance their readiness.

The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott – Blending tech-philosophy with insights, shows how society is entering into a four-dimensional world – filled with ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection – that is dramatically redefining people’s lives.

The Fourth Age by Byron Reese – An assessment of the revolutionary potential of artificial intelligence and robotics traces how technology arrived at this point and how artificial life, machine consciousness, extreme prosperity, and technological warfare will be hotly debated issues of the near future.

Experience on Demand by Jeremy Bailenson – An exploration of the risks and potential of virtual reality argues that VR technology can be used to enrich people’s lives and influence how users treat others, the environment, and themselves.

Thinking Machines by Lucas Dormehl – Discusses the advancements in artificial intelligence and what it means to be human in a world full of machines that think.

The Secret Life by Andrew O’Hagan – Three essays explore identity and the Internet, taking readers to the fringes of life in a digital world through the eyes of characters who question the reality of selfhood in the digital age.

Hello World by Hannah Fry – Explores the algorithms that automate modern life, describing their inner workings, their limitations, and the ways they can improve human systems.

A Brave New (Virtual) World

readyplayeroneVideo games have come a long way since the very first console, the Magnavox Odyssey, was released in 1972. Augmented and virtual realities are now on the rise as gamers find more ways to distract themselves from their actual reality. But what happens when the line between real and virtual begins to blur? How will virtual realities shape our future? Explore these concepts by picking up one of these fascinating novels about video games and the people who play them:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

Lock In by John Scalzi – When a new virus causes one percent of the population to become completely paralyzed in body but not in mind, the United States pursues a scientific initiative to develop a virtual-reality world for victims, with unexpected consequences.

Reamde by Neal Stephenson – When his own high-tech startup turns into a Fortune 500 computer gaming group, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family who has amassed an illegal fortune, finds the line between fantasy and reality becoming blurred when a virtual war for dominance is triggered.

Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane – Dev Logan, the genius programmer responsible for a popular, massive multiplayer online game, Omnitopia, guards a secret about his invention – it is no longer simply a program, it has become sentient.

Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy – Grace McBride and the team at her software company are horrified when events in their murder mystery computer game are replicated in the real world by a ruthless killer, a situation that prompts them to analyze the game in order to anticipate his next move. Continue reading