Experts are already building a future world brimming with artificial intelligence, but here in the present most of us are still trying to figure out what AI even is. This is a technology that will influence many aspects of our lives, from jobs to entertainment to health care, but that also engages with fundamental questions about what it means to be human. Questions like, “what is the nature of creativity?” and “how do we define consciousness?” Posing the question “how can I understand AI?” is nearly as daunting as asking “what is the meaning of life?”
But as with that tricky life question, a sense of overawing complexity doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
In order to help, The Verge has assembled a reading list: a brief but diverse compendium of books, short stories, and blogs, all chosen by leading figures in the AI world to help you better understand artificial intelligence. It’s an eclectic selection that ranges from practical primers to Golden Age sci-fi, and while reading everything listed below won’t get you a job at Google (though it certainly couldn’t hurt), it will give you much-needed context for this confusing and exciting time.