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10 must-read books if you are into smart cities, artificial intelligence, and other tech topics

By September 4, 2020January 15th, 2021No Comments

If you’re nerdy like us, your favourite topics of conversation are Smart Cities, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Smart Retail, and anything else that relates to the technology industry. As #ReadABookDay is coming up on September 6th, we decided to list 10 must-read books – whether you already love the same topics or want to start learning our language and joining our conversations! 

Keep reading and find out what our Danavator’s favourite books are. (By the way, to make your life easier, we included Amazon links!)

1. Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence (by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb)

Artificial intelligence does the seemingly impossible, magically bringing machines to life–driving cars, trading stocks, and teaching children. But facing the sea change that AI will bring can be paralyzing. How should companies set strategies, governments design policies, and people plan their lives for a world so different from what we know? In the face of such uncertainty, many analysts either cower in fear or predict an impossibly sunny future.

In Prediction Machines, three eminent economists recast the rise of AI as a drop in the cost of prediction. With this single, masterful stroke, they lift the curtain on the AI-is-magic hype and show how basic tools from economics provide clarity about the AI revolution and a basis for action by CEOs, managers, policymakers, investors, and entrepreneurs.

 

2. The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future (by Ben Green, Jascha Franklin-Hodge)

Smart cities, where technology is used to solve every problem, are hailed as futuristic urban utopias. We are promised that apps, algorithms, and artificial intelligence will relieve congestion, restore democracy, prevent crime, and improve public services. In The Smart Enough City, Ben Green warns against seeing the city only through the lens of technology; taking an exclusively technical view of urban life will lead to cities that appear smart but under the surface are rife with injustice and inequality. He proposes instead that cities strive to be “smart enough”: to embrace technology as a powerful tool when used in conjunction with other forms of social change—but not to value technology as an end in itself.

 

3. Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Is Changing the World (by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott)

In this revelatory book, Don and Alex Tapscott bring us a brilliantly researched, highly readable, and essential book about the technology driving the future of the economy. 

Blockchain is the ingeniously simple, revolution­ary protocol that allows transactions to be simultaneously anonymous and secure by maintaining a tamperproof public ledger of value. Though it’s best known as the technology that drives bitcoin and other digital cur­rencies, it also has the potential to go far beyond currency, to record virtually everything of value to humankind, from birth and death certifi­cates to insurance claims, land titles, and even votes. 

As with major paradigm shifts that preceded it, blockchain technology will create winners and losers. This book shines a light on where it can lead us in the next decade and beyond.

 

4. Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Present and Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies (by Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe, Parth Detroja)

Some experts say that cryptocurrencies and blockchains are just a scam; others say they’re “the most important invention since the internet.” It’s hard to tell who’s right. Authored by Product Managers from Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, Bubble or Revolution cuts through the hype to offer a balanced, comprehensive, and accessible analysis of blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

You’ll learn the core concepts of these technologies and understand their strengths and weaknesses from real-world case studies; dive deep into their technical, economic, political, and legal complexities; and gain insights about their future from exclusive interviews with dozens of tech industry leaders.

 

5. The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance (by Stephen Goldsmith)

The Responsive City is a guide to civic engagement and governance in the digital age that will help leaders link important breakthroughs in technology and data analytics with age-old lessons of small-group community input to create more agile, competitive, and economically resilient cities. Featuring vivid case studies highlighting the work of pioneers in New York, Boston, Chicago and more, the book provides a compelling model for the future of governance. The book will help mayors, chief technology officers, city administrators, agency directors, civic groups and nonprofit leaders break out of current paradigms to collectively address civic problems. The Responsive City is the culmination of research originating from the Data-Smart City Solutions initiative, an ongoing project at Harvard Kennedy School working to catalyze the adoption of data projects on the city level. The book is co-authored by Professor Stephen Goldsmith, director of Data-Smart City Solutions at Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor Susan Crawford, co-director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg penned the book’s foreword.

 

6. Smart Cities: Introducing Digital Innovation to Cities (by Oliver Gassmann, Jonas Böhm, Maximilian Palmié)

Despite the exploitation of existing potential in lighthouse-cities that include Barcelona, London, Munich, Lyon, and Vienna, the less tenacious pursuit of smart city possibilities in the majority of municipalities has resulted in major discrepancies between leading smart cities and those that are less aspirational. Although the necessity of action is frequently recognized, an appropriate path of action remains obscure.

Smart Cities: Introducing Digital Innovation to Cities offers answers, with clarifying examples, to questions that have remained unanswered for many cities. The book identifies and addresses the core elements and potential of smart cities, best practice methods and tools to be implemented, as well as how diverse stakeholders might be effectively integrated.

 

7. Uneven Innovation: The Work of Smart Cities Hardcover (by Jennifer Clark)

In Uneven Innovation, Jennifer Clark considers the potential of emerging technologies as well as their capacity to exacerbate existing inequalities and even produce new ones. She reframes the smart city concept within the trajectory of uneven development of cities and regions, as well as the long history of technocratic solutions to urban policy challenges. Clark argues that urban change driven by the technology sector is following the patterns that have previously led to imbalanced access, opportunities, and outcomes. 

 

8. The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives (by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler)

Technology is accelerating far more quickly than anyone could have imagined. During the next decade, we will experience more upheaval and create more wealth than we have in the past hundred years. In this gripping and insightful roadmap to our near future, Diamandis and Kotler investigate how wave after wave of exponentially accelerating technologies will impact both our daily lives and society as a whole. What happens as AI, robotics, virtual reality, digital biology, and sensors crash into 3D printing, blockchain, and global gigabit networks? How will these convergences transform today’s legacy industries? What will happen to the way we raise our kids, govern our nations, and care for our planet?

Diamandis, a space-entrepreneur-turned-innovation-pioneer, and Kotler, bestselling author and peak performance expert, probe the science of technological convergence and how it will reinvent every part of our lives—transportation, retail, advertising, education, health, entertainment, food, and finance—taking humanity into uncharted territories and reimagining the world as we know it.

 

9. Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI (by Paul R. Daugherty, H. James Wilson)

In Human + Machine, Accenture leaders Paul R. Daugherty and H. James (Jim) Wilson show that the essence of the AI paradigm shift is the transformation of all business processes within an organization–whether related to breakthrough innovation, everyday customer service, or personal productivity habits. As humans and smart machines collaborate ever more closely, work processes become more fluid and adaptive, enabling companies to change them on the fly–or to completely reimagine them. AI is changing all the rules of how companies operate.

Based on the authors’ experience and research with 1,500 organizations, the book reveals how companies are using the new rules of AI to leap ahead on innovation and profitability, as well as what you can do to achieve similar results. It describes six entirely new types of hybrid human + machine roles that every company must develop, and it includes a “leader’s guide” with the five crucial principles required to become an AI-fueled business.

10. Urban Analytics  (by Alex Singleton, Seth Spielman, David Folch)

The economic and political situation of cities has shifted in recent years in light of rapid growth amidst infrastructure decline, the suburbanization of poverty and inner-city revitalization. At the same time, the way that data are used to understand urban systems has changed dramatically. Urban Analytics offers a field-defining look at the challenges and opportunities of using new and emerging data to study contemporary and future cities through methods including GIS, Remote Sensing, Big Data and Geodemographics. Written in an accessible style and packed with illustrations and interviews from key urban analysts, this is a groundbreaking new textbook for students of urban planning, urban design, geography, and the information sciences.

We hope you like our recommendations. Now go grab your coffee, take advantage of the long weekend coming up and get right into these books. Share on social media the ones that you liked most or any other recommendations that you have. Make sure to tag us (@danavation) in your post! 

Happy reading!