It’s the time of year when some of us finally have a moment to breathe and pick up a good book.
For anyone interested in tech ethics, there are lots of great popular and technical books out there and we’ll be bringing you some suggestions over the next few weeks.
While the following 5 books aren’t exactly beach reads, they’re written for non-experts and give some incredible insight into the role of technology in our future. These are great picks if you want an introduction to a topic (or the entire field) and make a great gift for anyone interested in science or technology:
1) Films from the Future, by Andrew Maynard
Andrew Maynard is a Professor and the Director of the Risk Innovation Lab at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University. His latest book came out just last month and is perfect for anyone interested in film (including instructors who want to use film in the classroom). He uses sci-fi films from Jurassic Park to Ex Machina to explore the ways in which technology could change, and potentially threaten, life as we know it.
2) Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech, by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Sara Wachter-Boettcher is a consultant who works in tech and her new book Technically Wrong is a great popular read for those who want to understand how algorithms play an integral role in determining what we see, how we feel, and how we think of others. It’s the perfect book for anyone who mistakenly thinks that anything a computer spits out is somehow objective.
3) Future Ethics, by Cennydd Bowles
While it may look like an academic read, Bowles’ book is readable for just about anyone. It’s full of clear explanations of ethical theories and examples of how technology has and will continue to lead us down a road we’re not quite ready for. Definitely a good read for those who feel like they don’t understand the potential dangers of new technologies and want a straightforward and structured introduction.
4) Tech Humanist: How You Can Make Technology Better for Business and Better for Humans, by Kate O’Neill
Kate O’Neill is a tech advisor, speaker, and writer whose new book is a perfect read for those who enjoy the Top 10 list for its humanistic perspective on science and technology. Pick this one up if you’re concerned about how humans are changed by technology and what we can do to be more aware of how we’re affected by so-called progress.
5) A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control, by Wendell Wallach
If you read only one book of tech ethics, make it Wallach’s A Dangerous Master. While it looks like a long slog, it’s a highly-readable, relatable, and comprehensive look at a broad range of issues in tech ethics. It will be valuable to anyone with interests ranging from Internet privacy to advanced military weapons.
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