Artificial intelligence books are nothing new. Science fiction authors have been writing about the subject for more than a century. But perhaps for the first time in humanity, artificial intelligence (AI) is more than merely a concept: It’s becoming a way of life, affecting everything from how we work to how we go about our daily lives.

Many AI-focused books on the market today explore this very concept: How is AI impacting us now, and what will life be like with AI a few years from now? While some authors are optimistic, envisioning a world where AI and humans can live together, others caution its potential negative impact on humans. They urge a wary approach and careful analysis of the potential threats AI could present. Still, they also point to the complexities of how AI works, in many cases exploring them as they would the human brain.

Let’s dig into some tremendous artificial intelligence books for more insight into AI and its increasing role in our daily lives.

AI Books for Beginners

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence by Philip C. Jackson Jr.

Among the many beginner AI books is this meticulously researched tome, which is considered by some to be a higher-quality version of Artificial Intelligence for Dummies. It is ideal for those unfamiliar with AI and the science of reasoning, making it among the best books on artificial intelligence for beginners. Jackson reflects on AI when it first began and offers insight into the nature of how thought occurs. He does an excellent job of combining both introductory and advanced AI concepts, so beginners and experienced users alike can better understand AI’s increasing potential.

Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Stuart Russell, Peter Norvig

This artificial intelligence textbook has been issued to students at more than 1,200 college campuses. It is a great introductory look at the constantly growing role AI plays in human life. Because the book is written in a language anyone can understand, it is also highly recommended for those who may not already be familiar with the concept.

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

Written by a professor at MIT, this book has inspired many with its musings on our rapidly changing world and how AI will impact everything from jobs to crime to future wars. It’s also ideal for beginners, as well as those wondering how AI may impact their day-to-day lives in the not-too-distant future.

Books for AI Professionals

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

In one of the best books on AI exploring its philosophy, Bostrom ponders what will happen once robots become smarter than humans and questions whether it would hurt or help humanity. While the book itself doesn’t offer any answers, he does warn readers about the real possibility of machines having the power to set their own goals, which may be harmless to them, but that might negatively affect humans. It’s an excellent read for anyone, also thinking about AI’s real potential impact.

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

Written by the father of technical singularity, this book explores the idea of reverse-engineering the brain to understand better how it works and creating superintelligent machines that follow a similar pattern. Kurzweil is widely considered to be a visionary in the field, discovering the many ways life can be enriched and enhanced using AI. Many of his past visions have come to life, making his predictions in the book that much more exciting.

The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil

Also written by Kurzweil, this book revolves around the idea that superintelligent computers are our next technological breakthrough, and that they’re happening soon. His optimism is evident throughout the book as he explores the concept of a utopian society in which humans and AI live together in harmony. He’s controversial, but he explains concepts in a way few can.

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

Barrat’s novel echoes what science fiction authors have been writing for some time: what will happen to the planet once AI takes over? He takes it one step further by wondering whether machines will have the same ambitions as humans, as well as whether AI will be more alien than human once fully developed.

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World by Pedro Domingos

In this book, Domingos shows readers how machine learning and AI are used at companies like Google and Amazon. He focuses more on the philosophy behind machine learning and AI than the data side. Still, the book's central question explores what will occur once the ultimate learning algorithm is created — one that will be able to learn anything, at any time, before it is even asked.

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