New and forthcoming

User Friendly

Cliff Kuang (and others)

How you use something defines what it does.

Whether for a computer game or a pair of shoes, user design is what makes or breaks a modern product. And as the software that drives our lives gets ever more intuitive and personal, designing the right experience for users matters more than ever.

So how can brilliant design turn function into elegance? Are there lasting principles behind it that we can learn? Why do some designs take root while others wither?

In this entertaining and beautiful book, Cliff Kuang -- a writer at Wired -- and Robert Fabricant -- a brilliant design mind -- guide readers through the myriad ways that designers are reshaping our behaviour, with fascinating stories ranging from healthcare and banking to dating and voting. You'll learn the hidden rules of experience that tap into our deepest desires and habits, and that reframe how we use the defining products of our time.

Dog Personalities

Dog Personalities

Have you ever looked at a cantankerous little dog thought, “If she were a person, she’d probably demand to see the manager after trying to use expired coupons”? Or seen a particularly fluffy dog and imagined her as a woman who loves crosswords and hands out sweets to the kids next door? Or an older dog, grey beard and wise eyes, who might join Facebook just to keep in touch with the grandkids and then post the same selfie, five times, no caption.

Then this book is for you. Based on the Instagram account with hundreds of thousands of followers, Dog Personalities humanises our canine pals, creating imaginative, hilarious backstories for some of our favourite dogs.

Hello World

Dr Hannah Fry

You are accused of a crime? Who would you rather decides your future – an algorithm or a human?
Before making your decision, bear in mind that the algorithm will always be more consistent, and far less prone to an error of judgement. Then again, at least the human will be able to look you in the eye before determining your fate. How much fairness would you be willing to sacrifice for that human touch?
This is just one of the dilemmas we face in the age of the algorithm, where the machine rules supreme, telling us what to watch, where to go, even who to send to prison. As increasingly we rely on them to automate big, important decisions – in crime, healthcare, transport, money - they raise questions that cut to the heart of what we want our society to look like, forcing us to decide what matters most. Is helping doctors to diagnose patients more or less important than preserving our anonymity? Should we prevent people from becoming victims of crime, or protect innocent people from being falsely accused?
Hannah Fry takes us on a tour through the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the human systems they replace.

AIQ

Nick Polson (and others)

'There comes a time in the life of a subject when someone steps up and writes the book about it. AIQexplores the fascinating history of the ideas that drive this technology of the future and demystifies the core concepts behind it; the result is a positive and entertaining look at the great potential unlocked by marrying human creativity with powerful machines.'
Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics

Two leading data scientists offer an up-close and user-friendly look at artificial intelligence: what it is, how it works, where it came from and how to harness its power for a better world.

A revolution of intelligent machines, from self-driving cars to smart digital assistants, is now remaking our world, just as the Industrial Revolution remade the world of the 19th century. Doctors use AI to diagnose and treat cancer. Banks use it to detect fraud. Power companies use it to save energy. Scientists use it to make new discoveries. AI is not some science-fiction droid from the future. It's right here, right now and it’s changing our lives at lightning-fast speed. Many of these changes offer great promise, including freedom from drudgery, safer workplaces, better health care and fewer language barriers. But others elicit worry - whether about jobs, data privacy, or the prospect of machines making biased decisions with no accountability.

In AIQ, authors Nick Polson and James Scott, both experts in the field, show us how to make sense of these accelerating trends. This book is based on a simple premise: if you want to understand the modern world, then you must learn a bit about how these intelligent machines really work. AIQ will teach you how to speak the mathematical language of AI - but in a friendly and approachable manner, one anchored in storytelling rather than equations. Along the way, you will meet a fascinating cast of historical characters who have a lot to say about data, probability and better thinking - and whose tried-and-true ideas are powering the AI revolution, as they play out in the modern age of big data. Finally, AIQ explains how these technologies can help you to overcome some of your own built-in cognitive weaknesses, giving you a chance to lead a life of greater happiness, efficiency and fulfillment.

The Book of Why

Judea Pearl (and others)

A pioneer of artificial intelligence shows how the study of causality revolutionized science and the world

'Correlation does not imply causation.' This mantra was invoked by scientists for decades in order to avoid taking positions as to whether one thing caused another, such as smoking and cancer and carbon dioxide and global warming. But today, that taboo is dead. The causal revolution, sparked by world-renowned computer scientist Judea Pearl and his colleagues, has cut through a century of confusion and placed cause and effect on a firm scientific basis. Now, Pearl and science journalist Dana Mackenzie explain causal thinking to general readers for the first time, showing how it allows us to explore the world that is and the worlds that could have been. It is the essence of human and artificial intelligence. And just as Pearl's discoveries have enabled machines to think better, The Book of Why explains how we can think better.

Now You're Talking

Trevor Cox

Being able to speak is what makes us human.

If you’ve ever felt the shock of listening to a recording of your own voice, you realise how important your voice is to your personal identity. We judge others – and whether we trust them – not just by their words but by the way they talk: their intonation, their pitch, their accent.

Now You’re Talking explores the full range of our voice – how we speak and how we sing; how our vocal anatomy works; what happens when things go wrong; and how technology enables us to imitate and manipulate the human voice. Trevor Cox talks to vocal coaches who help people to develop their new voice after a gender change; to record producers whose use of technology has transformed the singing voice; and to computer scientists who replicate the human voice in their development of artificial intelligence.

Beginning with the Neanderthals, Now You’re Talking takes us all the way to the digital age – with the frightening prospect that we may soon hear ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’ more frequently than a friendly ‘Hello, how are you?’ in the street.

The Secret History of Mac Gaming

Richard Moss

The Macintosh challenged games to be more than child’s play and quick reflexes. It made human–computer interaction friendly, inviting and intuitive.

Mac gaming led to much that is now taken for granted by PC gamers and spawned some of the biggest franchises in video game history. It allowed anyone to create games and playful software with ease, and gave indie developers a home for their products.

It welcomed strange ideas and encouraged experimentation. It fostered passionate and creative communities who inspired and challenged developers to do better and to follow the Mac mantra ‘think different’.

Drawing on archive material and interviews with key figures from the era – and featuring new material from Craig Fryar, Apple’s first Mac games evangelist and the co-creator of hit game Spectre The Secret History of Mac Gaming is the story of those communities and the game developers who survived and thrived in an ecosystem that was serially ignored by the outside world. It’s a book about people who followed their hearts first and market trends second, showing how clever, quirky, and downright wonderful video games could be.

Artificial Intelligence: A Ladybird Expert Book

Michael Wooldridge

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, ArtificialIntelligence is a clear, simple and entertaining introduction tointelligent machines and the humans that program them.

Written by computer scientist MichaelWooldridge, Artificial Intelligence chronicles the development of intelligentmachines, from Turing's dream of machines that think, to today's digitalassistants like Siri and Alexa.

AI is not something that awaits us in the future. Inside you'll learn how wehave come to rely on embedded AI software and what a world of ubiquitous AI might look like.

For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the sameiconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Eachbeautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced inthe original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.

Dawn of the New Everything

Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier, ‘the father of Virtual Reality … a high-tech genius’ (Sunday Times), tells the extraordinary story of how in just over three decades Virtual Reality went from being a dream to a reality – and how its power to turn dreams into realities will transform us and our world.

Virtual Reality has long been one of the dominant clichés of science fiction. Now Virtual Reality is a reality: those big headsets that make people look ridiculous, even while radiating startled delight; the place where war veterans overcome PTSD, surgeries are trialled, aircraft and cities are designed. But VR is far more interesting than any single technology, however spectacular. It is, in fact, the most effective device ever invented for researching what a human being actually is – and how we think and feel.

More than thirty years ago, legendary computer scientist, visionary and artist Jaron Lanier pioneered its invention. Here, in what is likely to be one of the most unusual books you ever read, he blends scientific investigation, philosophical thought experiment and his memoir of a life lived at the centre of digital innovation to explain what VR really is: the science of comprehensive illusion; the extension of the intimate magic of earliest childhood into adulthood; a hint of what life would be like without any limits.

As Lanier shows, we are standing on the threshold of an entirely new realm of human creativity, expression, communication and experience. While we can use VR to test our relationship with reality, it will test us in return, for how we choose to use it will reveal who we truly are.

Welcome to a mind-expanding, life-enhancing, world-changing adventure.

Attack of the Flickering Skeletons: More Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Stuart Ashen

Welcome to a world of games you never knew existed. You will probably wish you still didn’t.

YouTube sensation Stuart Ashen is back with his second instalment of terrible old computer games you’ve probably never heard of... because what the world needs right now is to know exactly how bad Domain of the Undead for the Atari 8-bit computers was.

Attack of the Flickering Skeletons is even bigger than the original Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of – this second excavation of gaming’s buried past will not only unearth more appalling excuses for digital entertainment, but also feature guest contributors and several special interest chapters not based around single specific games.

These are NOT the games you’ve heard of a million times in YouTube videos. This is a compilation of truly obscure and dreadful games. Dripping with wry humour and featuring the best, worst graphics from the games themselves, this book encapsulates the atrocities produced in the days of tight budgets and low quality controls.

These are even more appalling games that leaked from the industry’s tear ducts, taken down from the dusty shelves of history by the man who has somehow made a living by sticking rubbish on a sofa and talking about it.

Outside Insight

Jorn Lyseggen

Is your business looking out?

The world today is drowning in data. There is a treasure trove of valuable and underutilized insights that can be gleaned from information companies and people leave behind on the internet - our 'digital breadcrumbs' - from job postings, to online news, social media, online ad spend, patent applications and more.

As a result, we're at the cusp of a major shift in the way businesses are managed and governed - moving from a focus solely on lagging, internal data, toward analyses that also encompass industry-wide, external data to paint a more complete picture of a brand's opportunities and threats and uncover forward-looking insights, in real time. Tomorrow's most successful brands are already embracing Outside Insight, benefitting from an information advantage while their competition is left behind.

Drawing on practical examples of transformative, data-led decisions made by brands like Apple, Facebook, Barack Obama and many more, in Outside Insight, Meltwater CEO Jorn Lyseggen illustrates the future of corporate decision-making and offers a detailed plan for business leaders to implement Outside Insight thinking into their company mindset and processes.

Gamechanger

Spencer FC


Be on the ball with this game-changing footy favourite

Alright, mate, how’s it going?

Believe it or not, I haven’t always been football mad. But then FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 came out. FIFA inevitably led to Football Manager. And that’s where I started getting properly hooked.

Now I’m a football club owner who’s played to 20,000 people at Wembley Stadium and travelled the world with my team, Hashtag United. And the best bit of all? I’m not even that good.

So, how on earth did this happen? How did someone who spent his life playing computer games and making YouTube videos pull it off?

I’m hardly sure myself, but here’s my attempt to tell the story.

Streampunks

Robert Kyncl (and others)

Something massive is shifting in the world of entertainment.

Across the planet, humans spend more of their free time watching video than doing anything else. But increasingly it’s not TV they're watching, but online video. In 2016, Swedish vlogger PewDiePie made a record $15 million from his YouTube videos, beating Hollywood A-listers like Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts and Amy Adams. Something massive is shifting in the world of entertainment.

Since its founding in 2005, YouTube has become the first and only truly global media platform, with over a billion users worldwide. It has changed the media industry as profoundly as the development of radio, film and television. In Streampunks, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl gets to the heart of this creative revolution through behind-the-scenes stories of its biggest stars – YouTubers like Tyler Oakley, Lilly Singh, and Casey Neistat—and the dealmakers brokering the future of media, like Scooter Braun, who scouted 12-year old Justin Bieber on YouTube, and Vice media mogul Shane Smith who used the platform to turn young people onto news and current affairs.

By giving anyone with a smartphone their own TV channel, YouTube is fuelling a new creative boom. Not only is it generating the new faces of entertainment, but also changing how students are taught, how social issues are discussed and how small businesses advertise and develop.

Streampunks is the definitive book on the modern pop-culture juggernaut Youtube, the platform remaking the face of entertainment.

Life 3.0

Max Tegmark

DAILY TELEGRAPH AND THE TIMES BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2017

'This is the most important conversation of our time, and Tegmark's thought-provoking book will help you join it' Stephen Hawking

'This is a rich and visionary book and everyone should read it' The Times

We stand at the beginning of a new era. What was once science fiction is fast becoming reality, as AI transforms war, crime, justice, jobs and society-and, even, our very sense of what it means to be human. More than any other technology, AI has the potential to revolutionize our collective future - and there's nobody better situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute, whose work has helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial.

In this deeply researched and vitally important new book, Tegmark takes us to the heart of thinking about AI and the human condition, bringing us face to face with the essential questions of our time. How can we grow our prosperity through automation, without leaving people lacking income or purpose? How can we ensure that future AI systems do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will AI help life flourish as never before, or will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, and even, perhaps, replace us altogether?

Life 3.0 gives us the tools to join what may be the most important conversation of our time, guiding us through the most controversial issues around AI today -- from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.

What sort of future do you want?

The Bestseller Code

Matthew Jockers (and others)

'If you're someone who dreams of penning a bestseller, read this book' The Week

'What if the success of E.L.James and Dan Brown was not so random? What if there were an algorithm that could pick out the bestseller DNA concealed within these books before they're published? This is the audacious claim made by Jodie Archer and Matthew Jockers ... Smart, savvy and full of ideas' Fiona Wilson, The Times

Girl on the Train. Fifty Shades. The Goldfinch. Why do some books capture the whole world's attention? In The Bestseller Code, Archer and Jockers boldly claim that not only can mega-hits be explained and identified - but they've built the algorithm to prove it. Using cutting-edge text mining techniques, they have developed a model that analyses theme, plot, style and character to explain why some books resonate more than others with readers. Provocative, entertaining, and ground-breaking, The Bestseller Code explores the hidden patterns at work in the biggest hits and, more importantly, the real reasons we love to read.

'Non-formulaic, eye-opening, deeply-researched - and really worth your time' GQ

'When a story captures the imagination of millions, that's magic. Can you qualify magic? Archer and Jockers just may have done so' Sylvia Day, no.1 bestselling author

'The claims are eye-grabbing . . . and also highly plausible' Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Spectator

'Thought-provoking and interesting ... Here is a book worth reading' David Bond, Financial Times

Weapons of Math Destruction

Cathy O'Neil

New York Times Bestseller

'Fascinating and deeply disturbing' - Yuval Noah Harari, Guardian Books of the Year

'A manual for the 21st-century citizen... accessible, refreshingly critical, relevant and urgent' - Federica Cocco, Financial Times

A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life - and threaten to rip apart our social fabric

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives - where we go to school, whether we get a loan, how much we pay for insurance - are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated.

And yet, as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort CVs, grant or deny loans, evaluate workers, target voters, and monitor our health.

O'Neil calls on modellers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.