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11 of the Best Books on Artificial Intelligence for Beginners, Business, and Beyond

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the study of how computers can be made to act intelligently. For most of us lay book (and movie) nerds, we mostly experience AI through science fiction where humans create robots to think and feel like people, and those robots eventually turn against their creators and seek to destroy them. While fiction may make us feel like we are decades away from this AI reality, some of the best books on artificial intelligence will show AI is actually a staple in most of our everyday lives. It’s there when we say “Hey Google (or Alexa or Siri)” or when the item we were searching for on Amazon starts to show up in our Facebook feed. 

As artificial intelligence becomes even more ingrained within our lives both at work and at home, it’s important to understand the topic. One may think a PhD in computer science is necessary to understand AI, but there are plenty of books written specifically for beginners. Most of the other artificial intelligence books are written for business insiders wanting to harness the power of AI as well as for experts, enthusiasts, and skeptics wanting to know more about current AI research. 

Similar to the STEM field, this list of books on artificial intelligence lacks diversity. Only a handful of the books are by authors of color or women. All these authors of color are men, and the women are white. Increasing the diversity in STEM (as well as in publishing) should be important to all of us. 

Best Books on Artificial Intelligence for Beginners

Artificial Intelligence Basics Book Cover

Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction by Tom Taulli

As expected from the title, Artificial Intelligence Basics was written for readers without a technical background who are looking to understand artificial intelligence and its impact. 

Technology and finance writer Tom Taulli provides an engaging introduction to core AI principles like machine learning, robotics, deep learning, and natural language processing. With his extensive knowledge and expertise, Taulli uses real-world case studies to expand upon the societal trends, ethics, and future impact AI will have on governments, companies, and even daily life. Tech giants like Google and Amazon are not the only organizations using artificial intelligence, so strengthening your understanding on the subject will be invaluable. Artificial Intelligence Basics can be that indispensable guide.

Artificial Intelligence for Dummies by John Mueller and Luca Massaron

The term “Artificial Intelligence” has been around since the 1950s. Today, the term is a household name. Although AI is often referenced in news, books, movies, and TV shows, its exact definition is often misinterpreted. Artificial Intelligence for Dummies provides a clear introduction and history of AI, dispels the common misconceptions surrounding AI, and provides an in-depth look into the many applications of AI. 

Artificial Intelligence Book Cover

Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know Today About Our Future by James C. Moore

If you’re looking for a short and simple read about artificial intelligence, then Artificial Intelligence is the must-read AI book for you. Science fiction often portrays AI as humanlike robots, but our daily interaction with AI consists mostly of Siri and Google search algorithms. While the AI of today, properly known as narrow AI, may outperform humans at specific tasks like playing chess or solving equations, the long-term goal of many researches is to create general AI (AGI or strong AI), which would outperform humans in nearly every cognitive task. With these unsettling possibilities, this book seeks to share the benefits and risks of artificial intelligence and why it’s important to ensure AI remains both safe and beneficial. 

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence by Philip C. Jackson

Philip Jackson has a PhD in artificial intelligence along with extensive experience in software development and design through the founding of TalaMind LLC, where he continues his research toward human-level artificial intelligence. 

In Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Jackson introduces the science of reasoning processes in computers and past research approaches. This third edition includes the original exploration of fascinating questions like “Can computers think?” and “Can computers use reason to develop their own concepts, solve complex problems, play games, understand our language?” along with new text on “Artificial Intelligence in the 21st Century.” With the combination of introductory and advanced material, this book is ideal for both beginners looking to better understand AI as well as computer science experts wanting an easy-to-understand glimpse into the history of artificial intelligence.

Books on Artificial Intelligence in Business

The AI Age Book Cover

The A.I. Age by Adam Riccoboni 

Want to know more about artificial intelligence? What’s a better book to read than one written by an entrepreneur who is on the forefront of the AI revolution and who even used AI to create the book cover? In The A.I. Age, readers get an insightful history of AI, including a mini biography of Turing Test creator, Alan Turing, that is often glossed over in other books on artificial intelligence. The book answers questions like “What is AI?” “How AI works?” and “How can businesses use AI?” Artificial intelligence will be demystified as readers discover how machine learning works and how it can be applied in business without the boring and confusing jargon. 

Artificial Intelligence Revolution: How AI Will Change Our Society, Economy, and Culture by Robin Li

From the co-founder of Baidu, one of the world’s largest AI companies, comes a must-read book for anyone concerned with the emergence of a society powered by “smart” technology and the resulting challenges humanity will face because of it. Within Artificial Intelligence Revolution, Li covers many of the latest ideas and developments in AI like L4 automated vehicles, intelligent manufacturing, and smart finance, while answering probing AI-related questions like “Will artificial intelligence replace human workers, and in what sectors of the economy?” “How will AI affect healthcare and finance?” and “How will AI change daily human life?”

Human + Machine Book Cover

Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI by Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson

Artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction. It’s in the software that predicts our needs and the supply chains that “think” in real time. Businesses that understand how to implement AI can surge ahead of the pack while those who neglect it can easily fall behind. Accenture leaders Paul Daugherty and Jim Wilson use their research and experience with 1,500 organizations to show how the AI paradigm shift can transform every business process within an organization and to reveal six new types of human + machine roles every company must develop in order to become an AI-fueled business. 

Although the authors believe artificial intelligence will improve the way we live and work, they are well aware of the disruption AI will cause. Many people will need re-education, training, and support to be properly prepared for these newly created jobs. Therefore, they are donating the royalties from the sale of Human + Machine to fund education and retraining programs to help workers develop the necessary skills for the age of artificial intelligence. 

Books on Artificial Intelligence for Enthusiasts (and Skeptics)

The Fourth Age Book Cover

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese

The First Age brought fire and language, then came the Second Age of cities and agriculture, followed by the Third Age of writing, money, and the wheel. Now humanity is entering the Fourth Age, which will be the time of artificial intelligence and robots. According to Byron Reese, AI may change the trajectory of our species far beyond the incremental progress we’ve seen in the past. Although society often envisions a future where Big Brother is always watching and humans are jobless, Reese argues: “if we lose our jobs to machines, it would by definition be in a world in which GNP is skyrocketing.”

In The Fourth Age, Reese brings his expertise as a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur to provide in-depth insights about AI, robotics, and their implications to humanity in a way that is both engaging and entertaining. 

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry

It is time to face the true powers (and limitations) of the algorithms that already automate healthcare, transportation, crime, and commerce. As artificial intelligence continues to dominate almost every part of society, Hello World provides an indispensable preparation of the moral quandaries associated with AI.

The book initially covers the two key concepts of algorithms and data, then uses those concepts as the foundation into specific applications like medicine and crime. If you are looking for a counterpoint to the AI doom and gloom, then look no further than the optimistic realism Fry presents for a future where humans play a central role in artificial intelligence.

A Human Algorithm Book Cover

A Human Algorithm: How Artificial Intelligence is Redefining Who We Are by Flynn Coleman

If you are searching for the humanity of artificial intelligence, then A Human Algorithm is your must-read book on artificial intelligence. This book is not about coding machines with algorithms to mimic human behavior. This book reflects upon the history, ethics, and philosophy of AI in both its present state and how it will impact the future of humanity. 

While AI has the ability to transform our health and alleviate poverty, international human rights attorney Flynn Coleman argues we must also instill values, ethics, and morals into these robots, algorithms, and other forms of AI. It is also essential to develop and implement laws, policies, and oversights to protect us from possible insidious threats imposed by unregulated artificial intelligence. To realize AI’s ultimate potential, Coleman advocates using a diverse group of voices to ensure empathy, equity, and human rights are the core principles of these emerging technologies. 

The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence by Amir Husain

With cruise control in our cars, automatic checkout at the grocery store, and smartphones in our pockets, artificial intelligence plays a central role in our society. Although AI is prevalent, the discussion around this technology is polarizing. Some think machines will solve all of our problems. Others think it will lead to a dystopian future where humans are irrelevant. 

In Sentient Machine, acclaimed computer scientist and inventor Amir Husain explains how we can not only survive the coming age of sentient machines, but thrive in the presence of AI. He addresses many broad existential questions surrounding AI with serious arguments about risk and potential instead of hyperbole about right and wrong. Lay readers need not worry, because Husain deftly reduces complex concepts in computer science and artificial intelligence into clear, plain language using a variety of cultural and historical references. 


Looking for more books related to artificial intelligence? Check out the best data science books, books to help with data visualization, and computer science books for beginners.

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