Analogia: The Entangled Destinies of Nature, Human Beings and Machines, by George Dyson, Allen Lane, RRP£25, 304 pages

Few writers could string together a coherent and compelling tale out of elements as varied as the Bering-Chirikov expedition to Siberia in 1741, the construction of a US heliograph intelligence network, tree houses, kayak designs and the future of artificial intelligence. Dyson is one in this quirky personal history of technology.

Facebook: The Inside Story, by Steven Levy, Blue Rider Press, RRP$30/Penguin Business, RRP£20, 592 pages

Few companies have had more impact on society — and are less understood — than Facebook. In this meticulously reported account, the veteran tech journalist Steven Levy sets out to redress the balance, presenting an unsparing portrait of Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, with his unnerving man-crush on the Roman emperor Augustus.

How to Talk to Robots: A Girls’ Guide to a Future Dominated by AI, by Tabitha Goldstaub, Fourth Estate, RRP£12.99, 256 pages

Goldstaub, an entrepreneur who chairs the UK government’s AI Council, takes on the tech bros and provides a fun and accessible primer to artificial intelligence with some help from her female friends, including Jeanette Winterson and Martha Lane Fox.

Best Books of the Year 2020

All this week, FT writers and critics share their favourites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Business by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Wednesday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Thursday: History by Tony Barber
Friday: Critics choice
Saturday: Crime by Barry Forshaw

The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch, by Laura DeNardis, Yale University Press, RRP£25, 288 pages

There is a lot of talk these days about technological sovereignty. Laura DeNardis, one of the leading scholars on internet governance, explains just how difficult that will be to achieve in a world where almost everybody is permanently online and everything is connected to the Internet of Things. Sobering and important.

The Future is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Simon & Schuster, RRP£20, 384 pages

If you fancy a blast of techno-optimism in our dire times then this is the book for you. Here you will find flying cars, rocket aeroplanes, 3D-printed transplant organs and “smart” clothing described in breathless prose. The convergence of powerful new technologies will lead to a much-needed burst of innovation, the authors contend.

Tell us what you think

What are your favourites from this list — and what books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below

The Road to Conscious Machines: The Story of AI, by Michael Wooldridge, Pelican, RRP£20, 416 pages

For a more down-to-earth assessment of how artificial intelligence is going to affect our world, this book is hard to beat. It provides both an insightful history of the field with a level-headed view of how it is going to impact areas such as healthcare, transport and the world of work.

John Thornhill is the FT’s innovation editor

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