Princeton Pre-Read

Princeton Pre-Read

The Princeton Pre-read Tradition

The Pre-read program, initiated by President Christopher L. Eisgruber in 2013, introduces incoming undergraduate students to Princeton’s intellectual life.

Members of the incoming class join together to read and discuss a book that President Eisgruber selects and sends to first-year students prior to their arrival on campus. First-year students then participate in Pre-read discussions with student leaders during Orientation Week and with President Eisgruber over the course of the academic year. Other University community members also are encouraged to read and discuss the Pre-read selection.

Class of 2028 Selection: The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI

President Eisgruber’s Princeton Pre-read selection for the Class of 2028 is The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI by Fei-Fei Li.

Dr. Li’s book describes the journey that took her from her native China first to Parsippany High School, then to Princeton, and eventually to international recognition as one of the world’s leading computer scientists. After developing technologies that enabled a breakthrough in computer image recognition, she has become an advocate for a “human-centered” artificial intelligence that benefits society. She ties together her personal and professional narratives by suggesting that, in life and in science, some of the most generative thinking happens “on the borders, where ideas are forever trapped between coming and going, explored by strangers in strange lands, insiders and outsiders at the same time” (p. 317). The Worlds I See both illuminates the exciting potential of scientific discovery to transform our world and highlights the profound ethical and policy questions that accompany rapid technological change.

Copies of The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI will be available to community members beginning in June 2024. Please take note of the following information:

  • Incoming undergraduate students and student leaders (PAAs, RCAs, and RGSs) will automatically receive a copy of the Pre-read. If you have any questions about this process, please contact [email protected].
  • Incoming graduate students will receive a copy of the Pre-read book from their department after arriving on campus for the fall semester. If you have any questions about this process, please contact [email protected].
  • Regular faculty members (assistant, associate, and full professors; instructor, lecturer, lecturer with the rank of professor, professor of the practice, senior lecturer, and University lecturer; and professors emeritus who are teaching) will automatically receive a copy of the Pre-read delivered to their home department.

Pre-read requests for all other University faculty, staff, alumni, and current students should be submitted via this form.

Learn more about The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI. 

Reviews

"Fei-Fei Li is one of the scientists responsible for the birth of today's most widely discussed science, Artificial Intelligence. In The Worlds I See she gives the best explanation of AI that I've ever read while telling the story of her own profoundly American journey as a young immigrant who finds herself through education. This is must-read." ―Condoleezza Rice, Director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford and 66th Secretary of State of the United States.

“An affecting memoir … Her story of overcoming adversity inspires. This brings new dimension and humanity to discussions of AI.” —Publishers Weekly

"Readers looking for a portal into a science that is not often illuminated or connected back to the human experience may especially enjoy this memoir." ―Booklist

Previous Pre-Read Selections

Class of 2017: The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Class of 2018: Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf

Class of 2019: Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele

Class of 2020: Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen

Class of 2021: What is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller

Class of 2022: Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech by Keith Whittington

Class of 2023: Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy by James Williams

Class of 2024: This America by Jill Lepore

Class of 2025: Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility by Jennifer Morton

Class of 2026: Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena by Jordan Salama

Class of 2027: How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for our Future by Maria Ressa

Cover of "The Worlds I See" by Dr. Fei-Fei Li with a person standing silhouetted by stars and a small princeton logo