Bill Gates’ Book Club – 11/26/21
A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins.
Few subjects have captured the imaginations of science fiction writers like artificial intelligence. If you’re interested in learning more about what it might take to create a true AI, this book offers a fascinating theory. Hawkins may be best known as the co-inventor of the PalmPilot, but he’s spent decades thinking about the connections between neuroscience and machine learning, and there’s no better introduction to his thinking than this book.
The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, by Walter Isaacson.
The CRISPR gene editing system is one of the coolest and perhaps most consequential scientific breakthroughs of the last decade. I’m familiar with it because of my work at the foundation—we’re funding a number of projects that use the technology—but I still learned a lot from this comprehensive and accessible book about its discovery by Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues. Isaacson does a good job highlighting the most important ethical questions around gene editing.
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir.
Like most people, I was first introduced to Weir’s writing through The Martian. His latest novel is a wild tale about a high school science teacher who wakes up in a different star system with no memory of how he got there. The rest of the story is all about how he uses science and engineering to save the day. It’s a fun read, and I finished the whole thing in one weekend.