Technology & Engineering Audiobooks

There are fantastic audiobooks that make the tricky topics and challenging concepts of technology and engineering clear. Scribd’s technology and engineering audiobooks unpack complex subjects and showcase them in action. The audiobooks delve into the past, present, and future of innovation. Start seeing the world in new ways with tech and engineering audiobooks.

There are fantastic audiobooks that make the tricky topics and challenging concepts of technology and engineering clear. Scribd’s technology and engineering audiobooks unpack complex subjects and showcase them in action. The audiobooks delve into the past, present, and future of innovation. Start seeing the world in new ways with tech and engineering audiobooks.

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  • After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost its Soul
    After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost its Soul
    After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost its Soul

    Audiobook

    After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost its Soul

    byTripp Mickle

    From the Wall Street Journal’s Tripp Mickle, the dramatic, untold story inside Apple after the passing of Steve Jobs by following his top lieutenants—Jony Ive, the Chief Design Officer, and Tim Cook, the COO-turned-CEO—and how the fading of the former and the rise of the latter led to Apple losing its soul. Steve Jobs called Jony Ive his “spiritual partner at Apple.” The London-born genius was the second-most powerful person at Apple and the creative force who most embodies Jobs’s spirit, the man who designed the products adopted by hundreds of millions the world over: the iPod, iPad, MacBook Air, the iMac G3, and the iPhone. In the wake of his close collaborator’s death, the chief designer wrestled with grief and initially threw himself into his work designing the new Apple headquarters and the Watch before losing his motivation in a company increasingly devoted more to margins than to inspiration. In many ways, Cook was Ive’s opposite. The product of a small Alabama town, he had risen through the ranks from the supply side of the company. His gift was not the creation of new products. Instead, he had invented countless ways to maximize a margin, squeezing some suppliers, persuading others to build factories the size of cities to churn out more units. He considered inventory evil. He knew how to make subordinates sweat with withering questions. Jobs selected Cook as his successor, and Cook oversaw a period of tremendous revenue growth that has lifted Apple’s valuation to $2 trillion. He built a commanding business in China and rapidly distinguished himself as a master politician who could forge global alliances and send the world’s stock market into freefall with a single sentence. Author Tripp Mickle spoke with more than 200 current and former Apple executives, as well as figures key to this period of Apple’s history, including Trump administration officials and fashion luminaries such as Anna Wintour while writing After Steve. His research shows the company’s success came at a cost. Apple lost its innovative spirit and has not designed a new category of device in years. Ive’s departure in 2019 marked a culmination in Apple’s shift from a company of innovation to one of operational excellence, and the price is a company that has lost its soul. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us
    Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us
    Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us

    Audiobook

    Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us

    byRo Khanna

    Congressman Ro Khanna offers a revolutionary roadmap to facing America’s digital divide, offering greater economic prosperity to all. In Khanna’s vision, “just as people can move to technology, technology can move to people. People need not be compelled to move from one place to another to reap the benefits offered by technological progress” (from the foreword by Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics). In the digital age, unequal access to technology and the revenue it creates is one of the most pressing issues facing the United States. There is an economic gulf between those who have struck gold in the tech industry and those left behind by the digital revolution; a geographic divide between those in the coastal tech industry and those in the heartland whose jobs have been automated; and existing inequalities in technological access—students without computers, rural workers with spotty WiFi, and plenty of workers without the luxury to work from home. Dignity in the Digital Age tackles these challenges head-on and imagines how the digital economy can create opportunities for people all across the country without uprooting them. Congressman Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley offers a vision for democratizing digital innovation to build economically vibrant and inclusive communities. Instead of being subject to tech’s reshaping of our economy, Representative Khanna argues that we must channel those powerful forces toward creating a more healthy, equal, and democratic society. Born into an immigrant family, Khanna understands how economic opportunity can change the course of a person’s life. Anchored by an approach Khanna refers to as “progressive capitalism,” he shows how democratizing access to tech can strengthen every sector of economy and culture. By expanding technological jobs nationwide through public and private partnerships, we can close the wealth gap in America and begin to repair the fractured, distrusting relationships that have plagued our country for far too long. Moving deftly between storytelling, policy, and some of the country’s greatest thinkers in political philosophy and economics, Khanna presents a bold vision we can’t afford to ignore. Dignity in a Digital Age is a roadmap to how we can seek dignity for every American in an era in which technology shapes every aspect of our lives.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Wires of War: Technology and the Global Struggle for Power
    The Wires of War: Technology and the Global Struggle for Power
    The Wires of War: Technology and the Global Struggle for Power

    Audiobook

    The Wires of War: Technology and the Global Struggle for Power

    byJacob Helberg

    From the former news policy lead at Google, an “informative and often harrowing wake-up call” (Publishers Weekly) that explains the high-stakes global cyberwar brewing between Western democracies and the authoritarian regimes of China and Russia that could potentially crush democracy. From 2016 to 2020, Jacob Helberg led Google’s global internal product policy efforts to combat disinformation and foreign interference. During this time, he found himself in the midst of what can only be described as a quickly escalating two-front technology cold war between democracy and autocracy. On the front-end, we’re fighting to control the software—applications, news information, social media platforms, and more—of what we see on the screens of our computers, tablets, and phones, a clash which started out primarily with Russia but now increasingly includes China and Iran. Even more ominously, we’re also engaged in a hidden back-end battle—largely with China—to control the internet’s hardware, which includes devices like cellular phones, satellites, fiber-optic cables, and 5G networks. This tech-fueled war will shape the world’s balance of power for the coming century as autocracies exploit 21st-century methods to redivide the world into 20th-century-style spheres of influence. Without a firm partnership with the government, Silicon Valley is unable to protect democracy from the autocrats looking to sabotage it from Beijing to Moscow and Tehran. Helberg offers “unnervingly convincing evidence that time is running out in the ‘gray war’ with the enemies of freedom” (Kirkus Reviews) which could affect every meaningful aspect of our lives, including our economy, our infrastructure, our national security, and ultimately, our national sovereignty.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot
    System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot
    System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot

    Audiobook

    System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot

    byRob Reich

    "System Error is a triumph: an analysis of the critical challenges facing our digital society that is as accessible as it is sophisticated." — Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America A forward-thinking manifesto from three Stanford professors—experts who have worked at ground zero of the tech revolution for decades—which reveals how big tech’s obsession with optimization and efficiency has sacrificed fundamental human values and outlines steps we can take to change course, renew our democracy, and save ourselves. In no more than the blink of an eye, a naïve optimism about technology’s liberating potential has given way to a dystopian obsession with biased algorithms, surveillance capitalism, and job-displacing robots. Yet too few of us see any alternative to accepting the onward march of technology. We have simply accepted a technological future designed for us by technologists, the venture capitalists who fund them, and the politicians who give them free rein. It doesn’t need to be this way. System Error exposes the root of our current predicament: how big tech’s relentless focus on optimization is driving a future that reinforces discrimination, erodes privacy, displaces workers, and pollutes the information we get. This optimization mindset substitutes what companies care about for the values that we as a democratic society might choose to prioritize. Well-intentioned optimizers fail to measure all that is meaningful and, when their creative disruptions achieve great scale, they impose their values upon the rest of us. Armed with an understanding of how technologists think and exercise their power, three Stanford professors—a philosopher working at the intersection of tech and ethics, a political scientist who served under Obama, and the director of the undergraduate Computer Science program at Stanford (also an early Google engineer)—reveal how we can hold that power to account. Troubled by the values that permeate the university’s student body and its culture, they worked together to chart a new path forward, creating a popular course to transform how tomorrow’s technologists approach their profession. Now, as the dominance of big tech becomes an explosive societal conundrum, they share their provocative insights and concrete solutions to help everyone understand what is happening, what is at stake, and what we can do to control technology instead of letting it control us.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next
    A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next
    A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next

    Audiobook

    A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next

    byTom Standage

    Tom Standage's fleet-footed and surprising global histories have delighted fans and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Now, he returns with a provocative account of an overlooked form of technology-personal transportation-and explores how it has shaped societies and cultures over millennia. Beginning around 3,500 BCE with the wheel—a device that didn't catch on until a couple thousand years after its invention—Standage zips through the eras of horsepower, trains, and bicycles, revealing how each successive mode of transit embedded itself in the world we live in, from the geography of our cities to our experience of time to our notions of gender. Standage explores the social resistance to cars and the upheaval that their widespread adoption required. Cars changed how the world was administered, laid out, and policed, how it looked, sounded, and smelled—and not always in the ways we might have preferred. Today—after the explosive growth of ride-sharing and years of breathless predictions about autonomous vehicles—the social transformations spurred by coronavirus and overshadowed by climate change create a unique opportunity to critically reexamine our relationship to the car. With A Brief History of Motion, Standage overturns myths and invites us to look at our past with fresh eyes so we can create the future we want to see.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence
    The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence
    The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence

    Audiobook

    The Quiet Zone: Unraveling the Mystery of a Town Suspended in Silence

    byStephen Kurczy

    "Captivating." —Kirkus | "Fascinating, deeply reported, and slightly eerie." —BookPage (Starred Review) | "The Quiet Zone will live on in your memory." —Bill McKibben A stunning portrait of an Appalachian community, the people who call it home, and the enduring human quest for quiet Deep in the Appalachian Mountains lies the last truly quiet town in America. Green Bank, West Virginia, is a place at once futuristic and old-fashioned: It’s home to the Green Bank Observatory, where astronomers search the depths of the universe using the latest technology, while schoolchildren go without WiFi or iPads. With a ban on all devices emanating radio frequencies that might interfere with the observatory’s telescopes, Quiet Zone residents live a life free from constant digital connectivity. But a community that on the surface seems idyllic is a place of contradictions, where the provincial meets the seemingly supernatural and quiet can serve as a cover for something darker. Stephen Kurczy embedded in Green Bank, making the residents of this small Appalachian village his neighbors. He shopped at the town’s general store, attended church services, went target shooting with a seven-year-old, square-danced with the locals, sampled the local moonshine. In The Quiet Zone, he introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters. There is a tech buster patrolling the area for illegal radio waves; “electrosensitives” who claim that WiFi is deadly; a sheriff’s department with a string of unsolved murder cases dating back decades; a camp of neo-Nazis plotting their resurgence from a nearby mountain hollow. Amongst them all are the ordinary citizens seeking a simpler way of living. Kurczy asks: Is a less connected life desirable? Is it even possible? The Quiet Zone is a remarkable work of investigative journalism—at once a stirring ode to place, a tautly-wound tale of mystery, and a clarion call to reexamine the role technology plays in our lives.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination
    An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination
    An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination

    Audiobook

    An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination

    bySheera Frenkel

    “The ultimate takedown.” – New York Times Book Review Award-winning New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang unveil the tech story of our times in a riveting, behind-the-scenes exposé that offers the definitive account of Facebook’s fall from grace.  Once one of Silicon Valley’s greatest success stories, Facebook has been under constant fire for the past five years, roiled by controversies and crises. It turns out that while the tech giant was connecting the world, they were also mishandling users’ data, spreading fake news, and amplifying dangerous, polarizing hate speech. The company, many said, had simply lost its way. But the truth is far more complex. Leadership decisions enabled, and then attempted to deflect attention from, the crises. Time after time, Facebook’s engineers were instructed to create tools that encouraged people to spend as much time on the platform as possible, even as those same tools boosted inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and partisan filter bubbles. And while consumers and lawmakers focused their outrage on privacy breaches and misinformation, Facebook solidified its role as the world’s most voracious data-mining machine, posting record profits, and shoring up its dominance via aggressive lobbying efforts. Drawing on their unrivaled sources, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang take readers inside the complex court politics, alliances and rivalries within the company to shine a light on the fatal cracks in the architecture of the tech behemoth. Their explosive, exclusive reporting led them to a shocking conclusion: The missteps of the last five years were not an anomaly but an inevitability—this is how Facebook was built to perform. In a period of great upheaval, growth has remained the one constant under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Both have been held up as archetypes of uniquely 21st century executives—he the tech “boy genius” turned billionaire, she the ultimate woman in business, an inspiration to millions through her books and speeches. But sealed off in tight circles of advisers and hobbled by their own ambition and hubris, each has stood by as their technology is coopted by hate-mongers, criminals and corrupt political regimes across the globe, with devastating consequences. In An Ugly Truth, they are at last held accountable.  Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Science of Time Travel: The Secrets Behind Time Machines, Time Loops, Alternate Realities, and More!
    The Science of Time Travel: The Secrets Behind Time Machines, Time Loops, Alternate Realities, and More!
    The Science of Time Travel: The Secrets Behind Time Machines, Time Loops, Alternate Realities, and More!

    Audiobook

    The Science of Time Travel: The Secrets Behind Time Machines, Time Loops, Alternate Realities, and More!

    byElizabeth Howell

    Travel back in time with Doctor Who, the Terminator, the X-Men, and all your favorite time travelers! Science fiction is the perfect window into the possibilities and perils of time travel. What would happen if you went back in time and killed your own grandparent? If you knew how to stop a presidential assassination, would time travel allow you to make your wish come true? Can we use time travel as a tool to escape the destiny of our future or mistakes of the past? The Science of Time Travel explores time travel through your favorite science-fiction franchises, from the classic time travel paradoxes of Star Trek to the universe-crossing shenanigans of Doctor Who. Discover the real science behind questions such as: Can time travel really erase our past regrets like in A Christmas Carol? Is it worth killing people in the past to prevent a horrible future like in Terminator? What can we learn from living the same day over and over again like in Groundhog Day? Could time travel destroy our right to privacy like in Deja Vu? And so much more! It's time to fire up the DeLorean to 88 mph, jump into the TARDIS hiding in plain sight, or warp space with the USS Enterprise to explore what time travel means for us.

    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
  • Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube, and the Rise of Private Spies
    Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube, and the Rise of Private Spies
    Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube, and the Rise of Private Spies

    Audiobook

    Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube, and the Rise of Private Spies

    byBarry Meier

    A Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist’s journey into a billon-dollar secret industry that is shaping our world – the booming business of private spying, operatives-for-hire retained by companies, political parties and the powerful to dig up dirt on their enemies and, if need be, destroy them.  For decades, private eyes from Allan Pinkerton, who formed the first detective agency in the U.S., to Jules Kroll, who transformed the investigations business by giving it a corporate veneer, private spies were content to stand in the shadows. Now, that is all changing. High-profile stories grabbing recent headlines – the Steele Dossier, Black Cube, the Theranos scandal, Harvey Weinstein’s attacks on his accusers –  all share a common thread, the involvement of private spies. Today, operatives-for-hire are influencing presidential elections, the news media, government policies and the fortunes of companies. They are also peering into our personal lives as never before, using off-the shelf technology to listen to our phone calls, monitor our emails, and decide what we see on social media. Private spying has never been cheaper and the business has never been more lucrative—just as its power has never been more pervasive. Spooked is a fast-paced, disturbing and, at times, hilarious tour through the shadowlands of private spying and its inhabitants, a grab-bag collection of ex-intelligence operatives, former journalists and lost souls. In this hidden world, information is currency, double-crosses are commonplace, and hacking can be standard procedure.  Drawing on his journalistic expertise and unique access to sources, Barry Meier uncovers the secrets private spies want to keep hidden. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut
    Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut
    Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut

    Audiobook

    Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut

    byNicholas Schmidle

    This program is read by the author. In the spirit of The Right Stuff, updated for the 21st century, Test Gods is an epic story about extreme bravery and sacrifice, about the thin line between lunacy and genius. Most of all, it is a story about the pursuit of meaning in our lives—and the fulfillment of our dreams. Working from exclusive inside reporting, New Yorker writer Nicholas Schmidle tells the remarkable story of the test pilots, engineers, and visionaries behind Virgin Galactic’s campaign to build a space tourism company. Schmidle follows a handful of characters—Mark Stucky, Virgin’s lead test pilot; Richard Branson, the eccentric billionaire funding the venture; Mike Moses, the grounded, unflappable president; Mike Alsbury, the test pilot killed in a fatal crash; and others—through personal and professional dramas, in pursuit of their collective goal: to make space tourism a reality. Along the way, Schmidle weaves his relationship with his father—a former fighter pilot and decorated war hero—into the tragedies and triumphs that Branson’s team confronts out in the Mojave desert as they design, build, and test-fly their private rocket ship. Gripping and novelistic, Test Gods leads us, through human drama, into a previously unseen world—and beyond. A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade
    Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade
    Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade

    Audiobook

    Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade

    byNathaniel Rich

    From the author of Losing Earth, a beautifully told exploration of our post-natural world that points the way to a new mode of ecological writing. We live at a time in which scientists race to reanimate extinct beasts, our most essential ecosystems require monumental engineering projects to survive, chicken breasts grow in test tubes, and multinational corporations conspire to poison the blood of every living creature. No rock, leaf, or cubic foot of air on Earth has escaped humanity's clumsy signature. The old distinctions—between natural and artificial, dystopia and utopia, science fiction and science fact—have blurred, losing all meaning. We inhabit an uncanny landscape of our own creation. In Second Nature, ordinary people make desperate efforts to preserve their humanity in a world that seems increasingly alien. Their stories—obsessive, intimate, and deeply reported—point the way to a new kind of environmental literature, in which dramatic narrative helps us to understand our place in a reality that resembles nothing human beings have known. From Odds Against Tomorrow to Losing Earth to the film Dark Waters (adapted from the first chapter of this book), Nathaniel Rich’s stories have come to define the way we think of contemporary ecological narrative. In Second Nature, he asks what it means to live in an era of terrible responsibility. The question is no longer, How do we return to the world that we’ve lost? It is, What world do we want to create in its place? A Macmillan Audio production from MCD

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe
    Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe
    Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe

    Audiobook

    Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe

    byPaul Sen

    This entertaining, eye-opening account of how the laws of thermodynamics are essential to understanding the world today—from refrigeration and jet engines to calorie counting and global warming—is “a lesson in how to do popular science right” (Kirkus Reviews). Einstein’s Fridge tells the incredible epic story of the scientists who, over two centuries, harnessed the power of heat and ice and formulated a theory essential to comprehending our universe. “Although thermodynamics has been studied for hundreds of years…few nonscientists appreciate how its principles have shaped the modern world” (Scientific American). Thermodynamics—the branch of physics that deals with energy and entropy—governs everything from the behavior of living cells to the black hole at the center of our galaxy. Not only that, but thermodynamics explains why we must eat and breathe, how lights turn on, the limits of computing, and how the universe will end. The brilliant people who decoded its laws came from every branch of the sciences; they were engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists, cosmologists, and mathematicians. From French military engineer and physicist Sadi Carnot to Lord Kelvin, James Joule, Albert Einstein, Emmy Noether, Alan Turing, and Stephen Hawking, author Paul Sen introduces us to all of the players who passed the baton of scientific progress through time and across nations. Incredibly driven and idealistic, these brave pioneers performed groundbreaking work often in the face of torment and tragedy. Their discoveries helped create the modern world and transformed every branch of science, from biology to cosmology. “Elegantly written and engaging” (Financial Times), Einstein’s Fridge brings to life one of the most important scientific revolutions of all time and captures the thrill of discovery and the power of scientific progress to shape the course of history.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX
    Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX
    Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX

    Audiobook

    Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX

    byEric Berger

    The dramatic inside story of the first four historic flights that launched SpaceX—and Elon Musk—from a shaky startup into the world's leading edge rocket company.  In 2006, SpaceX—a brand-new venture with fewer than 200 employees—rolled its first, single-engine rocket onto a launch pad at Kwajalein Atoll. After a groundbreaking launch from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Falcon 1 rocket designed by Elon Musk’s engineers rose in the air for approximately thirty seconds. Then, its engine flamed out, and the rocket crashed back into the ocean.  In 2007, SpaceX undertook a second launch. This time, the rocket rose far into space, but just before reaching orbit it spun out of control. Confident of success in 2008, Musk and his team launched their third rocket with several paying customers. The first stage executed perfectly, but instead of falling away, it thudded into the second stage. Another failure. Elon Musk had only budgeted for three attempts when he founded SpaceX. Out of money and with a single Falcon 1 rocket left in its factory, SpaceX decided to try one last, dramatic launch. Over eight weeks, engineers worked furiously to prepare this final rocket. The fate of Musk’s venture mirrored the trajectory of this slender, single-engine rocket aimed toward the skies. If it crashed and burned, so would SpaceX. In September 2008, SpaceX’s last chance for success lifted off . . . and accelerated like a dream, soaring into orbit flawlessly. That success would launch a miraculous decade for the company, in which SpaceX grew from building a single-engine rocket to one with a staggering 27 engines; created two different spacecraft, and mastered reusable-rocket descents using mobile drone ships on the open seas. It marked a level of production and achievement that has not been seen since the space race of the 1960s. But these achievements would not have been possible without SpaceX’s first four flight tests. Drawing on unparalleled access and exclusive interviews with dozens of former and current employees—engineers, designers, mechanics, and executives, including Elon Musk—Eric Berger tells the complete story of this foundational generation that transformed SpaceX into the world’s leading space company. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Driven: The Race to Create the Autonomous Car
    Driven: The Race to Create the Autonomous Car
    Driven: The Race to Create the Autonomous Car

    Audiobook

    Driven: The Race to Create the Autonomous Car

    byAlex Davies

    Alex Davies tells the “illuminating and important narrative” (Steven Levy, author of Facebook: The Inside Story) of the quest to develop driverless cars—and the fierce competition between Google, Uber, and other companies in a race to revolutionize our lives. The self-driving car has been one of the most vaunted technological breakthroughs of recent years. But early promises that these autonomous vehicles would soon be on the roads have proven premature. Alex Davies follows the twists and turns of the story from its origins to today. The story starts with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was charged with developing a land-based equivalent to the drone, a vehicle that could operate in war zones without risking human lives. DARPA issued a series of three “Grand Challenges” that attracted visionaries, many of them students and amateurs, who took the technology from Jetsons-style fantasy to near-reality. The young stars of the Challenges soon connected with Silicon Valley giants Google and Uber, intent on delivering a new way of driving to the civilian world. Soon the automakers joined the quest, some on their own, others in partnership with the tech titans. But as road testing progressed, it became clear that the challenges of driving a car without human assistance were more formidable than anticipated. Davies profiles the industry’s key players from the early enthusiasm of the DARPA days to their growing awareness that while this spin on artificial intelligence isn’t yet ready for rush-hour traffic, driverless cars are poised to remake how the world moves. Driven explores “the epic tale of competition and comradery, long odds and underdogs, all in service of a world-changing moonshot” (Andy Greenberg, author of Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar).

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future
    If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future
    If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future

    Audiobook

    If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future

    byJill Lepore

    The Simulmatics Corporation, launched during the Cold War, mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge—decades before Facebook, Google, and Cambridge Analytica. Jill Lepore, best-selling author of These Truths, came across the company’s papers in MIT’s archives and set out to tell this forgotten history, the long-lost backstory to the methods, and the arrogance, of Silicon Valley. Founded in 1959 by some of the nation’s leading social scientists—“the best and the brightest, fatally brilliant, Icaruses with wings of feathers and wax, flying to the sun”—Simulmatics proposed to predict and manipulate the future by way of the computer simulation of human behavior. In summers, with their wives and children in tow, the company’s scientists met on the beach in Long Island under a geodesic, honeycombed dome, where they built a “People Machine” that aimed to model everything from buying a dishwasher to counterinsurgency to casting a vote. Deploying their “People Machine” from New York, Washington, Cambridge, and even Saigon, Simulmatics’ clients included the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign, the New York Times, the Department of Defense, and dozens of major manufacturers: Simulmatics had a hand in everything from political races to the Vietnam War to the Johnson administration’s ill-fated attempt to predict race riots. The company’s collapse was almost as rapid as its ascent, a collapse that involved failed marriages, a suspicious death, and bankruptcy. Exposed for false claims, and even accused of war crimes, it closed its doors in 1970 and all but vanished. Until Lepore came across the records of its remains. The scientists of Simulmatics believed they had invented “the A-bomb of the social sciences.” They did not predict that it would take decades to detonate, like a long-buried grenade. But, in the early years of the twenty-first century, that bomb did detonate, creating a world in which corporations collect data and model behavior and target messages about the most ordinary of decisions, leaving people across the planet, long before the global pandemic, crushed by feelings of helplessness. This history has a past; If Then is its cautionary tale

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Uncanny Valley: A Memoir
    Uncanny Valley: A Memoir
    Uncanny Valley: A Memoir

    Audiobook

    Uncanny Valley: A Memoir

    byAnna Wiener

    The prescient account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age In her mid-20s, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener — stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial — left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress. Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building. Part coming-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment. Unsparing and incisive, Uncanny Valley is a cautionary tale, and a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond
    A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond
    A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond

    Audiobook

    A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond

    byDaniel Susskind

    This program is read by the author. From an Oxford economist, a visionary account of how technology will transform the world of work, and what we should do about it. From mechanical looms to the combustion engine to the first computers, new technologies have always provoked panic about workers being replaced by machines. For centuries, such fears have been misplaced, and many economists maintain that they remain so today. But as Daniel Susskind demonstrates, this time really is different. Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence mean that all kinds of jobs are increasingly at risk. Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. As a result, more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers — from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts, from writing news reports to composing music — are coming within their reach. The threat of technological unemployment is now real.This is not necessarily a bad thing, Susskind emphasizes. Technological progress could bring about unprecedented prosperity, solving one o humanity’s oldest problems: how to make sure that everyone has enough to live on. The challenges will be to distribute this prosperity fairly, to constrain the burgeoning power of Big Tech, and to provide meaning in a world where work is no longer the center of our lives. Perceptive, pragmatic, and ultimately hopeful, A World Without Work shows the way.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play
    User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play
    User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play

    Audiobook

    User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play

    byCliff Kuang

    This program includes material read by the authors. In User Friendly, Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant reveal the untold story of a paradigm that quietly rules our modern lives: the assumption that machines should anticipate what we need. Spanning over a century of sweeping changes, from women’s rights to the Great Depression to World War II to the rise of the digital era, this audiobook unpacks the ways in which the world has been—and continues to be—remade according to the principles of the once-obscure discipline of user-experience design. In this essential program, Kuang and Fabricant map the hidden rules of the designed world and shed light on how those rules have caused our world to change—an underappreciated but essential history that’s pieced together for the first time. Combining the expertise and insight of a leading journalist and a pioneering designer, User Friendly provides a definitive, thoughtful, and practical perspective on a topic that has rapidly gone from arcane to urgent to inescapable. In User Friendly, Kuang and Fabricant tell the whole story for the first time—and you’ll never interact with technology the same way again.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Lean Out: The Truth About Women, Power, and the Workplace
    Lean Out: The Truth About Women, Power, and the Workplace
    Lean Out: The Truth About Women, Power, and the Workplace

    Audiobook

    Lean Out: The Truth About Women, Power, and the Workplace

    byMarissa Orr

    Girl gangs reigning terror at Facebook, narcissistic overlords at Google . . . this is the backdrop of Lean Out, which takes readers on the journey of Marissa Orr, a single mom of three trying to find success in her fifteen-year career at the world’s top tech giants. Orr delivers an ambitious attempt to answer the critical question: What have we gotten wrong about women at work?  “This book is a must-read for insights on the impact that reversing systemic gender biases can have on creating more diverse, healthier workplaces for both women and men.” --Joanne Harrell, Senior Director, USA Citizenship, Microsoft  “This book will make you think differently about what it will take for women to succeed at the highest levels in American business.” --Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer, Publicis Groupe Lean Out offers a new and refreshingly candid perspective on what it’s really like for today’s corporate underdogs. Based on both in-depth research and personal experiences, Orr punctures a gaping hole in today’s feminist rhetoric and sews it back up with compelling new arguments for the reasons more women don’t make it to the top and how companies can better incentivize women by actually listening to what they have to say and by rewarding the traits that make them successful.  In Lean Out, Orr uncovers: Why our pursuit to close the gender gap has come at the expense of female well-being. The need to redefine success and change the way corporations choose their leaders. The way most career advice books targeting professional women seek to change their behavior rather than the system. Why modern feminism has failed to make any progress on its goals for equality. More than fifty years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, the wage gap still hovers at 80 percent, and only 5 percent of CEOs in the Fortune 500 are women. Today, rising up the ranks in many companies still often means cutthroat, win-at-all-costs tactics, where being the loudest voice in the room is more important than being the person with the best ideas for moving the company forward. Not surprisingly, most women don’t want to play this game.  An everyday working woman with a sardonic sense of humor, Orr is an endearing antihero who captures the voice for a new generation of women at work. Lean Out presents a revolutionary path forward, to change the life trajectories of women in the corporate world and beyond.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption
    Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption
    Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption

    Audiobook

    Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption

    byBen Mezrich

    From Ben Mezrich, the New York Times best-selling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, comes Bitcoin Billionaires — the fascinating story of brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss' big bet on cryptocurrency and its dazzling pay-off. Ben Mezrich's 2009 best seller, The Accidental Billionaires, is the definitive account of Facebook's founding and the basis for the Academy Award-winning film The Social Network. Two of the story's iconic characters are Harvard students Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss: identical twins, Olympic rowers, and foils to Mark Zuckerberg. Bitcoin Billionaires is the story of the brothers’ redemption and revenge in the wake of their epic legal battle with Facebook. Planning to start careers as venture capitalists, the brothers quickly discover that no one will take their money after their fight with Zuckerberg. While nursing their wounds in Ibiza, they accidentally run into an eccentric character who tells them about a brand-new idea: cryptocurrency. Immersing themselves in what is then an obscure and sometimes sinister world, they begin to realize “crypto” is, in their own words, "either the next big thing or total bulls--t." There’s nothing left to do but make a bet. From the Silk Road to the halls of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bitcoin Billionaires will take us on a wild and surprising ride while illuminating a tantalizing economic future. On November 26, 2017, the Winklevoss brothers became the first bitcoin billionaires. Here’s the story of how they got there — as only Ben Mezrich could tell it.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Players Ball: A Genius, a Con Man, and the Secret History of the Internet's Rise
    The Players Ball: A Genius, a Con Man, and the Secret History of the Internet's Rise
    The Players Ball: A Genius, a Con Man, and the Secret History of the Internet's Rise

    Audiobook

    The Players Ball: A Genius, a Con Man, and the Secret History of the Internet's Rise

    byDavid Kushner

    A Wild West look at the early days of the internet — the incredible battle between the founder of Match.com and the con man who swindled him out of the online domain name Sex.com in an all-out war for control over the fuel that still powers the online world to this day: love and lust. In 1994, visionary entrepreneur Gary Kremen used a $2,500 loan to create the first online dating service, Match.com. Despite only five percent of Americans using the internet at the time, Kremen insisted his invention would transform our lives. That wasn’t all he has accurately predicted. He also anticipated that internet addresses, or domain names, would be the bedrock of the dawning digital frontier, eventually gathering the same kind of value as real estate properties. So, while his friends thought he was crazy, he bought dozens up, including the domain Sex.com. Love and lust, he believed, would fuel this new world to new heights. But in 1995, as Kremen prepared to launch his next venture, he was shocked to learn someone named Stephen Michael Cohen had stolen the rights to the Sex.com name and was making millions that Kremen had never seen. In The Players Ball, award-winning journalist David Kushner draws from years of research and interviews to vividly recreate the Wild West years online, when innovators and outlaws battled for power and money. He explores the risks, rewards, challenges, and back alleys of how the world online came to be and provides essential insights about where it’s heading. The Players Ball is the rollicking true story of a decade-long cat-and-mouse game between a genius and a con man that changed the way people connect and defined the digital age.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Blockchain: The Next Everything
    Blockchain: The Next Everything
    Blockchain: The Next Everything

    Audiobook

    Blockchain: The Next Everything

    byStephen P. Williams

    An experienced tech writer fully explains blockchain technology and how it will radically transform the world as we know it in this accessible, listener-friendly, illuminating guide. What is blockchain? Why does everyone from tech experts to business moguls to philanthropists believe it is a paradigm-shifting technology, bound to revolutionize society as significantly as the internet? Indeed, why is blockchain touted as "The Next Everything"? In this deft, fascinating, and easy-to-digest introduction to one of the most important innovations of recent times, Stephen P. Williams answers these questions, revealing how cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are just one example among dozens of transformative applications that this relatively new technology makes possible. He interprets the complexity into digestible anecdotes, metaphors, and straightforward descriptions for listeners who don’t know tech and explains all of blockchain’s most important aspects: why this so-called digital ledger is unhackable and unchangeable; how its distributed nature may transfer power from central entities like banks, government, and corporations to ordinary citizens around the world; and what its widespread use will mean for society as a whole. Taking us on a dazzlingly vivid tour through the systems predicted to soon underpin economics, politics, global trade, science, art, and numerous other aspects of our everyday lives, Blockchain: The Next Everything is a truly extraordinary journey into our future.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Digital Renaissance: What Data and Economics Tell Us about the Future of Popular Culture
    Digital Renaissance: What Data and Economics Tell Us about the Future of Popular Culture
    Digital Renaissance: What Data and Economics Tell Us about the Future of Popular Culture

    Audiobook

    Digital Renaissance: What Data and Economics Tell Us about the Future of Popular Culture

    byJoel Waldfogel

    The digital revolution poses a mortal threat to the major creative industries — music, publishing, television, and the movies. The ease with which digital files can be copied and distributed has unleashed a wave of piracy with disastrous effects on revenue. Cheap, easy self-publishing is eroding the position of these gatekeepers and guardians of culture. Does this revolution herald the collapse of culture, as some commentators claim? Far from it. In Digital Renaissance, Joel Waldfogel argues that digital technology is enabling a new golden age of popular culture, a veritable digital renaissance. By reducing the costs of production, distribution, and promotion, digital technology is democratizing access to the cultural marketplace. More books, songs, television shows, and movies are being produced than ever before. Nor does this mean a tidal wave of derivative, poorly produced kitsch; analyzing decades of production and sales data, as well as best-seller and best-of lists, Waldfogel finds the new digital model is just as successful at producing high-quality, successful work as the old industry model, and in many cases more so. Are we drowning in a tide of cultural silt or living in a golden age for culture? The answers in Digital Renaissance may surprise you.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
    Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
    Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

    Audiobook

    Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

    byJaron Lanier

    Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now is a timely call-to-arms from a Silicon Valley pioneer. You might have trouble imagining life without your social media accounts, but virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier insists that we're better off without them. In his important new audiobook, Lanier, who participates in no social media, offers powerful and personal reasons for all of us to leave these dangerous online platforms behind before it's too late. Lanier's reasons for freeing ourselves from social media's poisonous grip include its tendency to bring out the worst in us, to make politics terrifying, to trick us with illusions of popularity and success, to twist our relationship with the truth, to disconnect us from other people even as we are more "connected" than ever, to rob us of our free will with relentless targeted ads. How can we remain autonomous in a world where we are under continual surveillance and are constantly being prodded by algorithms run by some of the richest corporations in history that have no way of making money other than being paid to manipulate our behavior? How could the "benefits" of social media possibly outweigh the catastrophic losses to our personal dignity, happiness, and freedom? Lanier remains a tech optimist, so while demonstrating the evil that rules social media business models today, he also envisions a humanistic setting for social networking that can direct us towarda richer and fuller way of living and connecting with our world.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
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