These books make informed predictions about what’s to come in the 21st century.
Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a big topic when it comes to future trends, and it may just be the most important one. In fact, if machines pass human intelligence levels, it’s likely that little else will matter. Bostrom is a philosopher at the University of Oxford, and he asks a lot of the big questions as they relate to AI. Not enough people are rationally thinking about this.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
Income inequality will be one of the defining issues of the 21st centuries. There is increasing polarization between the rich and the poor, and it’s not good for anybody. In this book, Piketty presents centuries of research to help us understand the concept of wealth. It’s a sobering read, and it will likely be a point of debate for decades to come.
Abundance by Peter Diamandis
Diamandis is known primarily as the founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation – an organization that functions to promote technological advancement. Abundance takes a more optimistic approach to what the future has to offer. It looks at our most pressing issues and points towards possible solutions. The insight is both refreshing and hopeful.
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Kolbert is a journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in the non-fiction category for this book. She walks down the road of history to previous mass extinction events known to man and then compares them to the effects of human activity. It’s one of the best books written on the topic, and Kolbert maintains a fair degree of objectivity on a challenging subject.
The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee
Two MIT professors take a look at how close we are to large-scale automation, what the implications will be, and what we can do to mitigate the many risks. It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s a dose of reality that more people need to accept if we are to take effective action. The future is coming, and this book is a reminder to prepare ourselves accordingly