Book Bits: 7 May 2022

What You Don’t Know: AI’s Unseen Influence on Your Life and How to Take Back Control
Cortnie Abercrombie
Summary via publisher (Narrow Gauge Books)
A Big Tech exec pulls back the curtain on the unseen forces at work labeling you, tracking you, and triggering you—deciding your employability, quality of life, and even whether you should live or die—because what you don’t know about them could actually hurt you. You are probably not aware, because of their hidden nature, but Artificial Intelligence systems are all around you affecting some of the biggest areas of your life—jobs, loans, kids, mental health, relationships, freedoms, and even healthcare decisions that can determine if you live or die. As an executive working in AI at one of the largest, most sophisticated tech companies on the planet, Cortnie Abercrombie saw firsthand how the corporate executives and data science teams of the Fortune 500 think about and develop AI systems.

The New Megatrends: Seeing Clearly in the Age of Disruption
Marian Salzman
Summary via publisher Currency/Penguin Random House
A pioneering forecaster predicts the trends and technologies that will shape global culture and commerce in the next two decades—a must-read guide for business leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking for an edge…. In this acutely observed guide, Salzman, whose past predictions have been heralded for coming uncannily close to the way we live now, unpacks the course of human life from the bumpy turn of the millennium through the pandemic era, when chaos and “together apart” are the new normal, equity has become a battle cry, and breathing space emerged as the greatest luxury of all.

After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul
Tripp Mickle
Review via Wired
When Jobs died, the big question surrounding Cook was whether he could nurture a product as groundbreaking as the iPod, the iPhone, or the iPad. In the 2010’s the company tried and failed to produce an autonomous electric car (an effort it has reportedly revived). But after a decade of Cook’s accomplishments becoming the stuff of CEO legend, holding him to that standard seems wrongheaded. His management of the iPhone franchise has been the envy of every tech company.

Dead in the Water: A True Story of Hijacking, Murder, and a Global Maritime Conspiracy
Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel
Review via The Economist
The global shipping network is one of capitalism’s most impressive achievements. Commercial vessels carry over four-fifths of world trade in physical merchandise, much of it lugged around in the more than 16,000 container ships and oil tankers in service. Yet as ever-more ports have been moved away from cities, shipping has become one of the least visible engines of the modern economy.
It can also be among the shadiest, argue Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel, two journalists from Bloomberg.

The China Dream: How the Aspirations of Government, Business, and People are Driving the Greatest Transformation in History
Jonathan A. Krane
Summary via publisher (Matt Holt/BenBella)
China GDP has grown from $300 per capita to more than $10,000 in the past 30 years and lifted more people into the middle class than in any other country at any other point in human history. It is important for investors, U.S. companies and anyone interested in the global economy to understand China. This is not to view China simply through rose-colored glasses. But despite the tensions between the US and China, it is essential to remember an important point often overlooked –1.4 billion Chinese consumers. China is rapidly shifting from an export-driven, low-cost manufacturer to a consumer-driven economy, and the wealth of Chinese consumers continues to grow.

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