by Jenny Pedersen

Artificial intelligence is all over the media these days. We just passed the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking film “2001: A Space Odyssey” featuring HAL, possibly the creepiest A.I. in popular culture.

Last night, I read about a group of knitters who have teamed up with an A.I. neural network to create SkyKnit. The A.I. is creating otherworldly patterns that the knitters are producing. I’ve also heard of neural networks coming up with names for things ranging from guinea pigs to paint colors. At this point, considering painting your pet Popchop’s cage the color turdly is comic, but how long until the comic turns…well, HALish?

There’s a lot going on that’s hard to understand, which makes it fearsome. One way to reduce the fear is to learn more. Deschutes Public Library has many items — fiction and nonfiction — about artificial intelligence that can help take the mystery out of the new technology. Or, prepare us for our coming digital overlords. Either way, you’ll be ready.

Fiction books

“Duel to the Death” by J.A. Jance

Stuart Ramey thinks the recent murder of his best friend is a closed case until he receives a fortune in Bitcoin from Frigg, a rogue A.I. program created by the killer.

“Happiness for Humans” by P.Z. Reizin

Two unknowing Brits become an experiment in matchmaking for a couple of rogue AI networks in this lighthearted romp.

“All Systems Red” by Martha Wells

A murderous android discovers itself in this tense science fiction adventure that investigates the roots of consciousness through artificial intelligence.

“Guardian Angels and Other Monsters” by Daniel H. Wilson

This fascinating and sometimes creepy short-story collection explores complex emotional and intellectual landscapes at the intersection of artificial intelligence and human life.

Nonfiction books

“Thinking Machines: The Quest for Artificial Intelligence and Where It’s Taking Us Next” by Luke Dormehl

A fascinating look at artificial intelligence, from its humble Cold War beginnings to the dazzling future that is just around the corner.

“AIQ: How People and Machines Are Smarter Together” by Nicholas G. Polson

What everyone needs to know to understand how artificial intelligence is changing the world and how we can use this knowledge to make better decisions in our own lives.

“The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity” by Byron Reese

Reese makes the case that technology has reshaped humanity three times in history and we are now on the doorstep of a fourth change brought about by two technologies: A.I. and robotics.

“Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark

An MIT professor of physics and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute explores key questions related to a near-future world of increasing digital autonomy.

Feature films

“Ex Machina”

Caleb, a 24-year-old coder at the world’s largest internet company, finds himself participating in his boss’s experiment with the world’s first true artificial intelligence.

“Marjorie Prime”

In the near future, 86-year-old Marjorie gains a holograph in the form of her late husband, but will she take advantage of this opportunity to recreate their life as she wished to have lived it?


Dr. Will Caster is working to create a sentient machine, but his highly controversial experiments take on dangerous implications when his consciousness is uploaded into one such program.


“Nova: Rise of the Robots — Inside the DARPA Robotics Challenge”

Machines with human-like capabilities have long been the stuff of science fiction. Until now. Meet the world’s most advanced humanoid robots as they leave the lab.

— Jenny Pedersen is a community librarian at the Redmond Library. Contact her at