Books About the Future and their Influence on Connected Industry Practitioners and Thought-Leaders

Books about the Future: Momenta                At Momenta we're privileged to have access to some of the greatest thinkers, innovators and practitioners in Connected Industry.

During our Insight Vectors or Podcast interviews, we always ask for books recommendations. We've seen these recommendations falling into three broad themes: Futurism, Psychology of Self (and Humanity) and Tools for Digital Transformation. To highlight these, we're releasing a series of three posts detailing notable recommendations. 

Our first installment: Futurism. We know that technologists are irresistibly drawn towards predicting the future and how technology will shape not only our lives, but those of generations to come. What guides their thinking, what inspires them to create and what serves as cautionary tales to give their creative impulses a second thought? These books are some of our favorites:


The Singularity is Near

The Singularity Is Near
by Ray Kurzweil 

Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil examines the next step in the evolutionary process of the union of human and machine. He foresees the dawning of a new civilization where we will be able to transcend our biological skills with the vastly greater capacity, speed and knowledge-sharing abilities of our creations. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped, and world hunger and poverty will be solved. There will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. The Singularity is Near offers a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.




Technology vs. Humanity bookTechnology vs. Humanity: The Coming Clash Between Man and Machine

by Gerd Leonhard

Futurist Gerd Leonhard breaks new ground again by bringing together mankind’s urge to upgrade and automate everything—down to human biology itself—with our timeless quest for freedom and happiness. Before it’s too late, we must stop and ask the big questions: How do we embrace technology without becoming it? When it happens—gradually, then suddenly—the machine era will create the greatest watershed in human life on Earth. Technology vs. Humanity is one of the last moral maps we’ll get as humanity enters the Jurassic Park of Big Tech. Artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, the singularity, digital obesity, printed food, the Internet of Things and the death of privacy. The end of work-as-we-know-it, and radical longevity: The imminent clash between technology and humanity is already rushing towards us.

What moral values are you prepared to stand up for—before being human alters its meaning forever?

Recommended by Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, CISCO Systems VP/GM, Cisco Systems. Chairman and President of the IoT Talent Consortium


Homo DeusHomo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow
by Yuval Noah Hariri

Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus:

War is obsolete:
You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict

Famine is disappearing:
You are at more risk of obesity than starvation

Death is just a technical problem:
Equality is out – but immortality is in

What does our future hold?
- Recommended by Nick Gogerty, CEO, SolarCoin


Life 3.0Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
by Max Tegmark

We stand at the beginning of a new era. What was once science fiction is fast becoming reality, as AI transforms war, crime, justice, jobs, society and even our very sense of what it means to be human. More than any other technology, AI has the potential to revolutionize our collective future - and there's nobody better situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute, whose work has helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial.

How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? How can we ensure that future AI systems do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will AI help life flourish as never before, or will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, and even, perhaps, replace us altogether,

 Recommended by Brian Gilmore, IoT Evangelist for Splunk


The Second Machine AgeThe Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies 
by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee  

In recent years, Google’'s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’ Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologies —with hardware, software, and networks at their core—will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human. In The Second Machine Age, MIT'’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee—, two thinkers at the forefront of their field, —reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.

Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kinds— from lawyers to truck drivers— will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift: fewer people are working and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar. Drawing on years of research and up-to-the-minute trends, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. 

Recommended by Don DeLoach, Author, CEO of Infobright, Co-chair, Midwest IoT Council. 


Future CrimesFuture Crimes
by Marc Goodman 

Technological advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways, but there is an ominous flipside. Criminals are often the earliest, and most innovative, adopters of technology and modern times have led to modern crimes. Today's criminals are stealing identities, draining online bank-accounts and wiping out computer servers. It's disturbingly easy to activate baby cam monitors to spy on families, pacemakers can be hacked to deliver a lethal jolt, and thieves are analyzing your social media in order to determine the best time for a home invasion.

Meanwhile, 3D printers produce AK-47s, terrorists can download the recipe for the Ebola virus, and drug cartels are building drones. This is just the beginning of the tsunami of technological threats coming our way. In Future Crimes, Marc Goodman rips open his database of hundreds of real cases to give us front-row access to these impending perils. Reading like a sci-fi thriller, but based in startling fact, Goodman raises tough questions about the expanding role of technology in our lives. Future Crimes is a call to action for better security measures worldwide, but most importantly, will empower readers to protect themselves against these looming technological threats - before it's too late.

Recommended by Jim Fletcher, Strategy Partner, Momenta Partners


The Future of EverythingThe Future of Everything: The Science of Prediction
by David Orrell

A compelling, irreverent, elegantly written history of our future that addresses the most important issues of our time, The Future of Everything examines such questions as: How well can we predict the future? Can past discoveries help us understand tomorrow’s weather patterns, or tell us what our financial future will look like? Will scientists ever be able to forecast catastrophes, or will we always be at the mercy of Mother Nature, waiting for the next storm, epidemic, or economic crash to thunder through our lives.

Recommended by Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, CISCO Systems VP/GM, Cisco Systems. Chairman and President of the IoT Talent Consortium




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Momenta Partners encompasses leading Strategic Advisory, Executive Search, and Investment practices. We’re the guiding hand behind leading industrials’ IoT strategies, over 100 IoT leadership placements, and 17+ young IoT disruptors. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our Connected Industry practice.