Utopias, AI, and the Coffee-Machine Bacteriome: Lux Recommends #10

By Sam Arbesman

Welcome to Lux Recommends #10, the newest edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about.


How Should We Talk to AIs? Artificial intelligence gets the Stephen Wolfram treatment. — Sam

Satellite Wars: “A new arms race in our skies threatens the satellites that control everything from security to communications” — Peter

Nature’s Critical Warning System: Natalie Wolchover covers the nonlinear dynamics beat (with some amazing in-depth discussion of these systems) and methods for detecting catastrophes in the making. — Sam

The Year We Decided to Live Forever: “In 2015, tech billionaires pursued anti-aging and cheating death like never before.” — Adam K

The coffee-machine bacteriome: biodiversity and colonisation of the wasted coffee tray leach: “Here we present the first systematic analysis of coffee machine-associated bacteria.” — Sam

The New Utopians: Essay exploring the writing of Kim Stanley Robinson (regularly featured in Lux Recommends) and other more optimistic science fiction writers. — Sam


Racing Extinction: A documentary premiered this week on Animal Planet, Discovery and Smithsonian called Racing Extinction. Equally fascinating and terrifying. Briliantly filmed and narrated it depicts the plight of the worlds animals going extinct at a rate 1000x faster than normal and how 50% of all species on earth will be extinct in the next century if we don’t do something about it. — Adam K


Black Chalk, by Christopher J. Yates: A psychological thriller that explores the ramifications that unspool when six college friends play a game of increasingly dire dares and consequences. — Sam

Best non-fiction books of 2015: Tyler Cowen’s reading. He always has great insights and discerning taste, so definitely check this out. — Sam

Have a suggestion? Let us know.