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Best summer books of 2022: Technology

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Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy
by David J Chalmers, Allen Lane £25/WW Norton $32

Tech companies are busily building an alternative virtual reality in the metaverse. What might it mean for humanity? In this scintillating and occasionally outlandish book, one of the world’s leading philosophers re-examines age-old philosophical debates in light of this emerging technology. Welcome to the new school of “technophilosophy”.

Technology is Not Neutral: A Short Guide to Technology Ethics
by Stephanie Hare, London Publishing Partnership £18.99/$29.95

Do we need a Hippocratic Oath for technology? Hare makes a strong case for why we might. Technology can be used for good or bad purposes, but rarely is it neutral. From facial recognition technology to Covid-19 exposure notification apps, this book explains why good intentions can so often lead to bad results.

The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Art of Disruption
by Sebastian Mallaby, Allen Lane £25/Penguin $30

The venture capital industry built Big Tech. In this impeccably researched and richly reported account, Mallaby explains how a tiny club of risk-taking investors on the West Coast has had such an outsized influence in shaping our modern world. Mallaby may be overly indulgent of the VC industry, but he is right to highlight its importance.

Freedom to Think: The Long Struggle to Liberate Our Minds
by Susie Alegre, Atlantic Books £20/$29.95

The ubiquity and intrusiveness of modern technology poses an unprecedented threat to freedom of thought, argues Alegre, a human rights lawyer. Hyperbolically, she bans her own daughter from having an Alexa digital assistant because “it steals your dreams and sells them”. Data privacy must be reframed as a right to inner freedom.

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making
by Tony Fadell, Bantam Press £20/Harper Business Books $32.50

The inventor turned investor, who helped develop the iPhone and the Nest thermostat and now runs a VC firm, writes a highly personal and sparky guide to building your career and creating cool stuff. Fadell may be a fan of new technology, but he believes even more in the power of human potential.

Summer Books 2022

All this week, FT writers and critics share their favourites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Tuesday: Environment by Pilita Clark
Wednesday: Fiction by Laura Battle
Thursday: History by Tony Barber
Friday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Saturday: Critics’ choice

Join our online book group on Facebook at FT Books Café

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