Dreaming with Machines: A New Everett Cafe Book Display

| September 18, 2016

160905_bookdisplay_219x365Perhaps the dream started with Leonardo, the greatest artist whose telling notebooks include fantastic drawings of “smart” machines — a parachute, helicopter, tank, mechanical knight, and many other curious mechanical devices. Leonardo certainly amused the Italian royalty, but his dreams came to fruition — enabling the creative and logical connection between humans and technology. We remember that he was not only gifted in art, science, and invention, but also in music, for he sang and played the lira da braccia, as well as the lyre, and he once designed the latter with silver in the unique shape of a horse’s head. Along with other Renaissance men, like the architect, painter, poet, scientist Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo epitomizes the Renaissance humanist ideal: man, full of immense capacity for development and knowledge, is at the center of the universe.

So, with artificial intelligence becoming more ubiquitous every year, how will humans adapt to a new era of “smart machines” — intelligent devices that use machine-to-machine technology? Robots, self-driven cars, and other cognitive computers can make more and more decisions, and solve our problems without human intervention – leading us to ponder, more than ever, our place in a rapidly developing tech world — and especially our role as parents, teachers, and citizens. What would Leonardo say today, or even 100 years from now?

On display through the end of September, Dreaming with Smart Machines calls us to examine the nature of machines, technological innovation, and life itself. Select writers include Allison Druin and James Hendler, Angelo Cangelosi and Matthew Schlesinger, Sara Varon, Alan Winfield, Joshua Davis, Neal Bascomb, Robin Hanson, Daniel H. Wilson, Murray Shanahan, Ray Kurzweil, John Markoff, and Matthew Weinstein, who open our eyes and help us imagine the possibilities.

Here’s a preview:

New_CoolBascomb, Neil. The New Cool: A Visionary Teacher, His FIRST Robotics Team, and the Ultimate Battle of Smarts. New York: Crown, 2011.

Cafe TJ211.26 .B37 2011



Developmental_RoboticsCangelosi, Angelo and Matthew Schlesinger. Developmental Robotics: From Babies to Robots.  Boston: MIT, 2015.

Cafe TJ211.495 .C36 2015




Spare_PartsDavis, Joshua. Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Originals, 2014.

Cafe TJ211.26 .D38 2014



The_Age_of_EmHanson, Robin. The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life When Robots Rule the Earth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Cafe HM846 .H368 2016




Robots_for_KidsDruin, Allison and James Hendler, eds. Robots for Kids: Exploring New Technologies for Learning. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann, 2000.

Cafe TJ211 .R5749 2000



The_Age_of_Spiritual_MachinesKurzweil, Ray. The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence. New York, Penguin, 2000.

Cafe Q335 .K88 2000




Machines_of_Loving_GraceMarkoff, John. Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots. New York: ECCO, 2015.

Cafe TJ211.49 .M37 2015




Technological_SingularityShanahan, Murray. The Technological Singularity.  Boston, MIT, 2015.

Cafe Q335 .S4626 2015




Robot_DreamsVaron, Sara. Robot Dreams. New York: First Second, c2007.

Cafe PZ7.V4453 Ro 2007





Robot_WorldWeinstein, Matthew. Robot World: Education, Popular Culture, and Science.  New York: Peter Lang, 1998.

Cafe Q105.A1 W45 1998


Robo2Wilson, Daniel H. Robopocalyspe: A Novel. New York: Vintage, 2012.

Cafe PS3623.I57796 R63 2012




Robotics_A_Very_ShortWinfield, Alan. Robotics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Cafe TJ211 .W56 2012




At the Everett News Cafe, you’ll find a new book collection every few weeks that relates to current affairs, education, or learning environments.