Olly’s AI Holiday Reading List

A big thank you to everyone who suggested great things for my holiday reading list.  The criteria was “Books or articles published in 2017 that focus on the social, economic, and political impact of Artificial Intelligence.”

As a result…the list below is what I’ll be reading on my two week trip (Cornwall, Scilly Isles, Majorca).

I’ve cheated a bit because some of these actually came out in 2016…




1. “The Driver in the Driverless Car: How our Technological Choices will Create The Future” by Vivek Wadhwa with Alex Salkever.

This Goodreads review says “Wadhwa offers us three questions to ask about every emerging technology: Does it have the potential to benefit everyone equally? What are its risks and rewards? And does it promote autonomy or dependence? Looking at a broad array of advances in this light, he emphasizes that the future is up to us to create–that even if our hands are not on the wheel, we will decide the driverless car’s destination.” Sounds good to me.


2. “Machine Platform Crowd: Harnessing our Digital Future” by Andrew McAffee and Erik Brynjolfsson

Here’s a video of them discussing their book.  It’s the follow up to their excellent “The Second Machine Age” which came on my last holiday.


 3. “Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy” by Cathy O’Neil

I’m a bit embarrassed that I haven’t yet read this hugely influential book about how algorithms are shaping our lives.  Looking forward to putting that right.  Here’s a Guardian interview with the mathematician author.


 4. “The Wealth of Humans” by Ryan Avent

Avent (who writes for the Economist) says the difference between his book and others, is that he disputes the idea that the digital revolution is different from any other.  Here’s the FT Review by Emma Jacobs.


5. “The Economic Singularity” by Calum Chace

In which I’m pretty sure Calum will paint a radically different picture to that of Mr. Avent and argue that we need an entirely new economic system to deal with the extraordinary technological changes that are coming and that Universal Basic Income is just one part of the solution. More here.


6. “The Future of The Professions” by Richard and Daniel Susskind

I saw Daniel Susskind speak about this recently and he was very impressive.  The book is based on research of more than ten professions, and the Susskinds claimed it was the first book to assess and question the relevance of the professions in the 21st century.




In between the longer reads above I’ll be dipping into 2 great sources of articles on AI which I’ve only just discovered:

1. Azeem Azhar’s newsletter “The Exponential View

Mike Butcher (Editor-At-Large of TechCrunch) says he is “Still blown away by Azeem’s newsletter. Excellent and useful aggregation of AI and ‘exponential tech’ news.” So he must be doing something right.


2. David D’Souza has also collected a host of articles here

That’s it.  I’m off.  And I’ll do a follow up blog when I’m back to let you know how the reading went.