Innovation and Digital Culture: 8 Suggested Readings for Your Summer Vacation

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Summertime means vacation time, but it doesn’t mean you have to completely switch off your brain! To help you keep those brain cells active, you will find below a selection of books we recently discovered that you can enjoy at the beach or at the cottage.

1. Survivre au XXIe siècle: rester humain à l’ère du numérique (in French)

How can we survive ‘disasters’ big and small in today’s world, where screens and new technologies keep invading our daily lives? Selfies, multitasking, overconsumption, solitude… Stéphane Garneau’s book helps us sort through all these new millennium terms and notions, while inviting us to reassess our consumption habits.

2. Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That Will Improve and/or Ruin Everything

Written by authors/couple Kelly and Zach Weinersmith, the book analyzes ten areas of innovation that are as exciting as they are terrifying. The authors aim to demystify the pros and cons of various technologies, acting as the readers’ guides in an imminent future. Featuring lots of humour and zany illustrations, Soonish is a must-read this summer.

3. Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Technology

Who are those women who couldn’t care less about Silicon Valley’s male stereotypes? Written as an investigative journalism piece by Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens, the book follows the trajectory of inspiring women who have succeeded in the fields of innovation and new technologies. In addition to such high-tech superstars as Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer, Geek Girl Rising showcases intrepid women entrepreneurs who fight for equality – and who will take part in the next digital revolution.

4. La terreur et le sublime: humaniser l’intelligence artificielle (in French)

How can we live in a world that will have witnessed the equivalent of 10,000 years of progress by the year 2100? That’s the main question asked by author Ollivier Dyens, whose book will be launched on August 28 at the Gallimard bookstore in Montreal. Dyens discusses both AI’s progress and key challenges (surveillance, transforming the work place, ethical programming, etc.) and the ways in which we can make these machines more human – offering surprising potential solutions.

5. How to Break Up with Your Phone

Leaving your smartphone behind during your summer vacation. What an inspiring thought! To help you achieve this seemingly impossible mission – and not cave in –, author Catherine Price wrote the ideal book. Without necessarily recommending such a radical solution, How to Break Up with Your Phone is rather a collection of useful tips meant to help people reduce their consumption of all things digital. That way, instead of staring at a screen during your vacation, you’ll be staring at the stars.

6. Netflix et cie: les coulisses d’une (r)évolution (in French)

The advent and massive popularity of over-the-top television and video on demand streaming services has completely redefined the audiovisual landscape. It’s becoming harder and harder to tell your Netflix from your Amazon, Disney, Apple or any of those giants who seem to regularly enter the fray. By collecting several interviews and articles, author Capucine Cousin attempts to answer the following question: considering such a seismic shift, what does the future hold for cinema and, to a larger extent, culture itself?

7. AI Super-Powers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order

Another summer must-read: this book by author Kai-Fu Lee, one of the world’s leading experts on AI, which compares how China and the US go about developing and using this new technology. While both superpowers are fiercely competing to gain the leading edge in artificial intelligence, the author believes that China is where we’ll be witnessing major developments – sooner than expected, and with a major impact on our global economy.

8. Parents dans un monde d’écrans (in French)

How popular are digital screens in your family? Do you feel your children are spending too much time on their smartphone? And as a parent, what’s your attitude toward such a screen-centric environment? Co-written by Catalina Briceño and Marie-Claude Ducas, this book has set a very ambitious goal: to provide clear answers to the many questions about our digital world. What constitutes acceptable behaviour? When does it become excessive? When is it better not to argue? In short, how to accompany children and teenagers in a world where screens are everywhere.

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