Book mentions in this thread

  • Votes: 28


    by Eliezer Yudkowsky

    Human intelligence is a superweapon: an amazing capacity that has single-handedly put humans in a dominant position on Earth. When human intelligence defeats itself and goes off the rails, the fallout therefore tends to be a uniquely big deal. In How to Actually Change Your Mind, decision theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky asks how we can better identify and sort out our biases, integrate new evidence, and achieve lucidity in our daily lives. Because it really seems as though we should be able to do better--and a three-pound all-purpose superweapon is a terrible thing to waste.
  • Votes: 28

    The Alignment Problem

    by Brian Christian

    A jaw-dropping exploration of everything that goes wrong when we build AI systems and the movement to fix them.
  • Votes: 28

    The Ape that Understood the Universe

    by Steve Stewart-Williams

  • Votes: 20

    Classification in the Wild

    by Konstantinos V. Katsikopoulos

    Rules for building formal models that use fast-and-frugal heuristics, extending the psychological study of classification to the real world of uncertainty. This book focuses on classification--allocating objects into categories--"in the wild," in real-world situations and far from the certainty of the lab. In the wild, unlike in typical psychological experiments, the future is not knowable and uncertainty cannot be meaningfully reduced to probability. Connecting the science of heuristics with machine learning, the book shows how to create formal models using classification rules that are simple, fast, and transparent and that can be as accurate as mathematically sophisticated algorithms developed for machine learning.
  • Votes: 11

    Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain

    by Lisa Feldman Barrett

    From the author of How Emotions Are Made, a myth-busting primer on the brain in the tradition of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Have you ever wondered why you have a brain? Let renowned neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett demystify that big gray blob between your ears. In seven short essays (plus a bite-sized story about how brains evolved), this slim, entertaining, and accessible collection reveals mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research. You'll learn where brains came from, how they're structured (and why it matters), and how yours works in tandem with other brains to create everything you experience. Along the way, you'll also learn to dismiss popular myths such as the idea of a "lizard brain" and the alleged battle between thoughts and emotions, or even between nature and nurture, to determine your behavior. Sure to intrigue casual readers and scientific veterans alike, Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain is full of surprises, humor, and important implications for human nature--a gift of a book that you will want to savor again and again.
  • Votes: 8

    Why Trust Science?

    by Naomi Oreskes

    This book explains why the social character of scientific knowledge makes it trustworthy and why social character is its greatest strength--for example, why we should trust doctors on vaccine safety, or climate experts on the perils of global warming. It traces the history and philosophy of science from the late nineteenth century to today, and explains that the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted.
  • Votes: 6

    As Gods

    by Matthew Cobb

    The thrilling and terrifying history of genetic engineering In 2018, scientists manipulated the DNA of human babies for the first time. As biologist and historian Matthew Cobb shows in As Gods, this achievement was one many scientists have feared from the start of the genetic age. Four times in the last fifty years, geneticists, frightened by their own technology, have called a temporary halt to their experiments. They ought to be frightened: Now we have powers that can target the extinction of pests, change our own genes, or create dangerous new versions of diseases in an attempt to prevent future pandemics. Both awe-inspiring and chilling, As Gods traces the history of genetic engineering, showing that this revolutionary technology is far too important to be left to the scientists. They have the power to change life itself, but should we trust them to keep their ingenuity from producing a hellish reality?
  • Votes: 4

    The Constitution of Knowledge

    by Jonathan Rauch

    Analyzing trends in American disinformation and conspiracy, Rauch reaches back to the parallel eighteenth-century developments of liberal democracy and science to explain what he calls the "Constitution of Knowledge"--our social system for turning disagreement into truth. By explicating the Constitution of Knowledge and probing the war on reality, Rauch posits a defined understanding of truth and free inquiry, with discussion of how and why they should be defended.