The best books on Digital Ethics, recommended by Carissa Véliz

Philosophers have a lot to add to debates about digital technology and the moral issues raised by its rapid rise, argues Carissa Véliz, a professor at the University of Oxford’s Institute for Ethics in AI. Here she talks us through books for the general reader that introduce some of the challenges of digital ethics, from concerns about privacy and bias to the threat to democracy and the future of humanity.  

The best books on Digital Africa, recommended by Mohammad Amir Anwar

The internet and digital technology are transforming not only the way African countries trade and conduct business but also how they cohere socially and politically. Mohammad Amir Anwar, Lecturer in African Studies and International Development at the University of Edinburgh, recommends books that investigate the opportunities for Africa from the growth of technology—but focus on specifics and avoid the hype.

The Best Books on Tech, recommended by Azeem Azhar

Technology is already running our lives and unless regulations are updated to keep up, it could upend our way of life completely, warns Azeem Azhar, entrepreneur, investor, and creator of the Exponential View newsletter. Here, he recommends his five top tech books to help us navigate the near future, from a technical tome to a science fiction novel.

The best books on Cryptocurrency, recommended by David Birch

Proselytes for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin extol them as a liberation technology to free us from big government. Sceptics insist that while they have been the source of useful technologies, as units of value, account and exchange, they will remain marginal. Here, digital currency expert David Birch chooses five books to help you understand the utopian roots of cryptocurrencies, the technology behind how they work, their functions and uses, and their broader place in the long history of money.

The Best Books on the Politics of Information, recommended by Henry Farrell

Our political systems evolved in an era when information was much harder to come by. What challenges does our current reality of information overload pose for democracy? How do we even start thinking about these questions? Political scientist Henry Farrell proposes key books for building a curriculum on ‘the politics of information,’ starting with a beautifully written novel.

The best books on Silicon Valley, recommended by Ramesh Srinivasan

Many of us are grateful to Silicon Valley for the convenience it’s brought to our lives, whether shopping, looking up information or communicating with other human beings. But as tech companies become corporate behemoths influencing every aspect of modern life, many realize it’s time to take action. Ramesh Srinivasan, UCLA professor and author of Beyond the Valley, recommends books for a more rounded understanding of Silicon Valley.

The best books on Learning Python and Data Science, recommended by Vicki Boykis

What do we mean when we talk about ‘big data’, and how can be become better critical consumers of it? Data scientist Vicki Boykis recommends the best books for learning Python—a language, she says, as versatile as a Swiss Army knife—and shows that it’s possible to teach yourself coding and data science.

The Best Quantum Computing Books, recommended by Chris Bernhardt

Quantum computing: it sounds more complicated than quantum mechanics, but it isn’t. Mathematician Chris Bernhardt, author of Quantum Computing for Everyone, explains why you need to know about it and which books will help you understand what it’s all about.

The Best Cyber Security Books, recommended by Josephine Wolff

Not all important subjects make good reading, but cyber security is an exception: not only do we all need to know about and take responsibility for it, but it also generates nonfiction books worthy of John le Carré. Cyber security and policy expert Josephine Wolff, author of You’ll see this message when it is too late, recommends the best cyber security books.

The best books on Engineering, recommended by Ante Shoda

What should a budding engineer—or even an experienced one—read for a better understanding of the science and trade? And how does engineering help make our lives better every day? Ante Shoda, an engineer for Honda Racing in California, recommends the best books for a fundamental understanding of engineering.

The best books on Blockchain, recommended by Kevin Werbach

In an age when trust in banks and other traditional institutions has been undermined and all our personal data is in the hands of the new tech giants, can blockchain help us take back control and restore trust? Or is it just a tool for financial speculation and illegal activities? Wharton professor and author Kevin Werbach recommends books to get your head around the basics of ‘blockchain.’

The best books on Data Science, recommended by Roger D. Peng

From complex techniques only used by academic statisticians, data science has risen to extreme popularity in only a few years. Roger D. Peng, Professor of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University and founder of one of the largest data science online courses, helps us understand this discipline and recommends the five best books to delve into it.

The best books on Philosophy of Technology, recommended by Evgeny Morozov

It’s easy to be impressed by the latest gadgets and comment on how much has changed since we started using them. But how often do we really take a step back and think about technological advances in their broader context? Belarussian tech commentator, Evgeny Morozov, picks the best books on the philosophy of technology.

The best books on Transhumanism, recommended by Mark O'Connell

The journalist and author Mark O’Connell explored the nature of transhumanism—the belief that technology will help us evolve beyond our current physical and mental limitations—in his award-winning book To Be A Machine. Here he selects five key books that speak directly to the movement.

The best books on Energy Transitions, recommended by Chris Goodall

The switch to sources of energy other than oil and gas is now well under way, but how long will it be before we can rely on them for the bulk of the world’s power—if ever? Renewable energy expert Chris Goodall gives us a thought-provoking reading list to think about both past and future ‘energy transitions.’

The best books on Drone Warfare, recommended by Hugh Gusterson

The introduction of drones “makes possible perpetual war without costs”, warns the anthropology professor and security expert Hugh Gusterson. Here he selects the best books that examine their ethical, psychological and political impact upon 21st century warfare.

The best books on Cybersecurity, recommended by Misha Glenny

There’s an unseen, mostly unacknowledged cyber war going on. British journalist Misha Glenny, author of Dark Market, tells us who’s involved, how far it spreads and what could happen if we let it continue unchecked. He picks the best books to get a better handle on cybersecurity.

The best books on Video Games, recommended by Katherine Isbister

Video games have never been more popular – or more intricately designed. But we haven’t yet developed the vocabulary to analyse a game’s impact the way we do a film’s, says professor of computational media Katherine Isbister. Here, she chooses five of the best books that explore the art of video game design, and the subcultures that grow up around them.

Lev Grossman recommends the best books on the World Wide Web

The book critic and technology columnist for Time magazine says there’s a level on which the Internet is a mass tool for pacification. It allows people to play out their lives in a fantasy context, which is very politically unthreatening. He picks the best books on the World Wide Web.

The Best Electronic Literature, recommended by Jessica Pressman

When we think of an ebook, we think of a printed book delivered in electronic form. But it can be so much more than that. Here, literary scholar Jessica Pressman talks us through the the rise of electronic literature—books that are composed not just of words, but take advantage of all the tools that a digital medium has to offer.

The best books on Computer Games, recommended by Tom Chatfield

Computer games aren’t just for teenage boys locked in their bedrooms says author and former Prospect senior editor Tom Chatfield – they are vital tools for social development. Here he selects five of the best books on the theory behind games, and the culture that grows up around them.

The best books on Health and the Internet, recommended by Elad Yom-Tov

A quick search of your symptoms on the internet may lead to an acute case of ‘cyberchondria.’ But it may also provide data which will improve health and even save lives. Elad Yom-Tov, the author of Crowdsourced Health, recommends books showing how internet data and data science can provide exciting new ways of conducting health and medical research.

The best books on Virtual Living, recommended by Aleks Krotoski

‘There was a research study done in the 1960s that identified that people will open themselves up to a stranger on a train and tell them deep personal information they would never tell their closest friends, partially because they have this sense that they can confess.’