Must-read books on artificial intelligence and machine learning in 2024


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has evolved far beyond its conceptual origins over sixty years ago. Once merely an academic idea, AI now powers machines capable of mirroring and even surpassing human capabilities in learning, reasoning, problem-solving, pattern recognition, and more.

From Tesla’s self-driving cars to virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, AI aims to make our lives easier and more efficient. However, the complexities of this rapidly advancing field can be daunting for newcomers. To bridge the gap, we’ve compiled a list of books that cater to beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike, sparking interest and deepening understanding of AI and machine learning in 2024.

1. Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell (2019)

Melanie Mitchell, a renowned AI researcher, demystifies AI for the non-technical reader. She provides a clear, insightful overview of AI’s history, current capabilities, and potential future impacts. The book tackles complex topics like neural networks and deep learning in an approachable manner, making it an excellent starting point for anyone curious about AI.

2. Machine Learning for Absolute Beginners (2nd Edition) by Oliver Theobald (2020)

Oliver Theobald’s updated guide remains a top choice for those with little to no background in coding or mathematics. It introduces AI and machine learning concepts in plain English, utilizing minimal jargon, illustrations, and a touch of humor. The book also provides a gentle introduction to Python programming, offering practical context for machine learning applications.

3. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (4th Edition) by Stuart Russell & Peter Norvig (2020)

A classic textbook and widely considered the “bible” of AI, this comprehensive work provides a broad overview of the field. It delves into various AI approaches, from search algorithms and logic to probabilistic reasoning and machine learning. While it assumes some technical background, the authors’ clear explanations and examples make it accessible to a wide range of readers.

4. Deep Learning with Python (2nd Edition) by Francois Chollet (2021)

Written by the creator of Keras, a popular deep learning library, this hands-on guide is ideal for those eager to build and apply deep learning models. It covers essential concepts, neural network architectures, and practical techniques for training and tuning models using real-world examples. Chollet’s clear writing style and emphasis on intuitive understanding make this book a valuable resource for practitioners.

5. The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values by Brian Christian (2020)

As AI systems become increasingly powerful, ensuring they align with human values becomes crucial. Brian Christian explores the challenges of aligning AI with our goals and ethics. He delves into real-world examples of AI bias and discrimination, offering insights into how we can shape AI to benefit society.

6. A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins (2021)

Jeff Hawkins, a pioneer in neuroscience and AI, presents a groundbreaking theory of intelligence based on the brain’s neocortex. He argues that intelligence arises from the brain’s ability to predict and model the world. Hawkins proposes a new AI framework inspired by this theory, with potential implications for building more intelligent and human-like machines.

7. Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell (2019)

Stuart Russell, a leading AI researcher, offers a sobering look at the potential risks of superintelligent AI. He outlines the “control problem,” where AI systems may pursue goals misaligned with human values, leading to unintended and potentially catastrophic consequences. Russell proposes a framework for developing AI systems that are provably beneficial to humanity.

Choosing Your AI Reading Journey

This curated list offers a diverse range of perspectives on AI and machine learning, catering to various interests and levels of expertise. Whether you’re a curious beginner or a seasoned professional, these books provide valuable insights into the past, present, and future of AI.

Remember, the best book for you depends on your specific goals and background. Consider your interests, technical knowledge, and desired takeaways when making your selection. Happy reading!