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Hello World: How Algorithms will Define our Future and Why We Should Learn To Live With It
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Hello World: How Algorithms will Define our Future and Why We Should Learn To Live With It

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,484 ratings  ·  197 reviews
You are accused of a crime? Who would you rather decides your future – an algorithm or a human?
Before making your decision, bear in mind that the algorithm will always be more consistent, and far less prone to an error of judgement. Then again, at least the human will be able to look you in the eye before determining your fate. How much fairness would you be willing to sac
Paperback, 243 pages
Published September 6th 2018 by Doubleday (first published September 2018)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,484 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
How pop science should be written; concise, engaging, illuminating, and compelling.
Thoroughly researched and more balanced that expected, but still problematic. As a librarian/Information Science professional, I have serious qualms with the argument that we should learn to "live" with algorithms/machines controlling functions of society. Yes, I see the benefits and potential. Yes, I agree that better developed algorithms can improve quality of life. But, I think the folks who develop tech often forget that an algorithm (a machine) should never be depended upon to make humane d ...more
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

We rely on the computers and the internet for almost everything these days, it is the backbone of our infrastructure, our first point of social contact for friends and associates all around the world, supplies our film and music choices and is a substantial part of the economy now. As the digital world permeates our life further computers are being used as part of, or in some cases the entire part of the
Vish Wam
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rivetting. Engaging. Funny.

Hannah Fry takes on the tyrannical influence of algorithms. But doesn't cast a future of doom, sounding like a luddite. The book is a refreshing take on how we could have a framework where we understand and accept AI for its flaws, and make decisions aided by it while questioning its power at each stage.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, nonfiction
Great read! This caught my eye as it was passing through the library on its way to fill a patron’s hold. I think I had algorithms (view spoiler)(view spoiler)on my mind because of the class I’m taking this semester. I can’t say the cover or title is anything that would fill me with excitement—although once she explained the title, it made me smile and say, “Ohhh”—but for whatever reason, I placed a hold for myself.
From start to finish,
Jenifer Jacobs
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I inhaled this book. So well written (I don’t really think it is fair, actually, for a mathematician to be such an engaging writer - but that’s life for you). Many interesting ideas and tidbits to discuss. Look out book club friends, this one is headed your way!
From BBC radio 4 - Book of the Week:
ociety has slowly handed over significant control to computers but how much should we rely on them over our own instincts? Mathematician Hannah Fry uncovers the hidden algorithms which can be found behind almost every aspect of our modern lives. She lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrating their power and exposing their limitations.

Written and read by Hannah Fry
Abridged by Robin Brooks
Producer: Eilidh McCreadie.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though roughly enjoyed every chapter, it was absolutely fascinating! Reminded me of reading Atul Gawande or Jon Ronson, such a brilliant blend of passionate narrator, demonstrable excellence and understanding in their field and page turning enthusiasm.
Ben Babcock
Algorithms are increasingly an important part of our lives, yet even as more of us become aware of this, how much do we actually stop to consider what that means? How much do we stop to consider who is designing these algorithms and how they actually work? And why are we willing to give up so much control to them in the first place? Hello World is a short tour through the various ways in which algorithms intersect with human decision-making. It is neither comprehensive nor particularly in-depth. ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Świetna książka, od której powinienem rozpocząć wgryzanie się w temat "technologia - obawy i nadzieje". Autorka jest matematyczką zatem kompetencji i szczególnej znajomości tematu nie można jej odmówić.

A książka dotyczy znaczenia algorytmów w naszym życiu. Nieodwracalnej (chyba że nadejdzie kataklizm lub antytechniczna rewolucja) i nieuniknionej zależności od nich. Która w zasadzie już jest faktem. Autorka na przykładzie niemal każdej istotnej dziedziny życia wykazuje z czym to uzależnienie się
Szymon Pytlik
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bardzo, bardzo dobra rzecz, bardzo potrzeba. Duzo odczarowywania "magii algorytmów", bardzo dużo ważnych pytań i spostrzeżeń. Zwłaszcza rozdział o samochodach fantastyczny.
Generalnie, rozsądna dawka wątpliwości co do oddawania decyzji w ręce algorytmów (bez panikowania, że olaboga, komputer!) przy jednocześnie dobrym przedstawieniu zysków.
Niezbędna do rozpoczęcia myślenia o tym, na ile powinniśmy pozwolić.
James Miller
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking and interesting read delving into our evolving use of algorithms to make decisions in place of and in addition to those we make ourselves. Balanced arguments explore the positives and negatives of this increasing dependence across the topics of power, data, justice, medicine, cars, crime and art. The author takes us on a journey from the beginnings of our capabilities to program machines, through to the emergence of self-driving cars and the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal b ...more
Mohammed Al-Garawi
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a good examination of AI and algorithms of machine learning, their history, applications, problems, and whether they’re set to replace us or complement us in different fields such as medicine, law, policing, etc...

It’s straight to the point, but still finds a way to be entertaining. Definitely a favorite.

P.S. I wish I had the chance to take a class with Hannah Fry when I was in UCL.
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway and received a copy from WWNorton for review purposes. This does not affect my rating or opinions of this book.

Perhaps the greatest strength of this book is that it was understandable for the layperson with minimal technical experience, but not patronizing or reductive which would alienate a more knowledgeable reader. It's written conversationally, with an occasional witty aside/observation/pop culture reference, but always stays on topic: balancing t
Tristan von Zahn

"More useful to think of what we’ve been through as a revolution in computational statistics than a revolution in intelligence"
page 23

"Algorithm aversion - where we revert to 0 trust when we see a single mistake in an algorithm"
page 112

“At the heart of this new technology - as with almost all algorithms - are questions about power, expectation, control, and delegation of responsibility. And about whether we can expect our technology to fit in with us, rather than the other way round."
Harm ten Napel
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a concise roughly 200 pages Hannah Fry navigates us through the state of the art of computer algorithms that are becoming ever more pervasive in various areas like justice, medicine and self driving cars. The book is extremely well researched with all lively anecdotes about the successes and mishaps of letting the machine decide on our faith backed by references, however lots in the form of cumbersome URLs, because the subject matter is in a quickly changing field, the actuality of the book m ...more
Carlos Martinez
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rounded up from 3.5. An insightful, thought-provoking and fun book about algorithms: what they are, how they work, the problems they fix, the problems they cause, and how we can build a happy symbiosis between human and machine.

The science was a bit more basic than I was after - it's addressed at someone who knows _nothing_ about algorithms rather than someone who knows _a little bit_. The book in general suffers for being somewhat Eurocentric - for example in spite of China being a world leader
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, audio, math
At last! Hannah Fry has written a book that explains what an algorithm is (simply put, “a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing a task", what they can do, the pros and cons, along with well-chosen examples. What she's writing about are mathematical operations that include equations, probability, and logic translated into computer code. She clearly explains that computers don't think, but only follow sequential directions coded by humans. Because the code is written by hum ...more
Titus Hjelm
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because some years ago I shared the stage with Dr Fry at TEDxUCL. Her performance there launched her career as a semi-celebrity maths/complexity person. I'm happy to see that it paid off and her debut trade book is a very entertaining and interesting read. But do get it as an audiobook if you can. She also has an extremely pleasant reading voice. The content is rather standard narrative popular science, illustrating a point through real-life stories, but it works very well. I es ...more
Wei Li
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friendly guide of how and why algorithms have been integrated into various aspects of our lives and of human society.

It asks the important questions of “where do we go from here?”, “what happens now?” as the algorithms aren’t perfect and most have ethical dilemmas built into them.

Fry astutely points out that people will not forgive algorithms biases that all humans make and that the incredible potential of future tech forces society to come up with absolute answers to problems with no right
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wish-list
I really enjoyed this book. A great overview of where algorithms will and do touch our daily lives and an understanding portrayed that shows the shortfalls that we should be aware of.

Written by a mathematician but doesn't need to be read by one. It's an accessible romp through the algorithmic world with plenty of sources cited for those that want to disappear down any particular rabbit holes.

I nice, relaxed and, I feel, honest writing style , it's easy to follow and easy to carry on from where y
Candace Dorn
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book describes the algorithms all around us. One chapter discusses AI in medicine, another in the justice system, and another chapter on self driving cars. This book is so much fun for data nerds like me!!!!! However, I would recommend this for non-data nerds more than anyone. You can't live in the dark.

This author describes algorithms in layman's terms and provides fantastic examples and stories throughout.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating book about how much algorithms and computers have taken over our lives. Hannah Fry, the author, has a very healthy respect for the good they can do while understanding that they will never replace human understanding. The book is replete with examples of everyday uses of algorithms, showing both positive and negative effects. It gave me a lot to think about.
Basia Vanderveen
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We listened to this with our children in the car on a long drive. They did not want us to pause it for a moment. I found it at times grim, focusing on breast cancer and negative diagnoses, but I generally enjoyed the book. There were tidbits that were quite amusing and many very informative for the kids, especially.
Neeraj Menta
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most amazing books which I picked up last year, this book will open your eyes to so many cases where algorithms have and are changing how we live and then discuss the dilemmas in around the overuse of algorithms.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable and very informative. Though I'd say this is on the pro-tech side of most of the discussion points it raises, it does also give a fairly balanced assessment of the pros and cons of using algorithms to tackle things like crime and healthcare and I learned a lot from it.
Guilherme Ferreira
A book about the human complication of using algorithms in multiple areas including justice, medicine, data, art, crime, and cars. Full of examples of good and bad usages of computational applications in these areas. It's interesting the troubles that can be caused by blindly believing in some algorithms just because is an algorithm. Another point that makes me enjoy this publication is the analysis of how powerful a problem can be solved by a combination of machine and human intelligence.
Shivam Kimothi
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In the age of algorithms, humans are more important than ever."
Thoroughly researched. The first few chapters are great. They are informative, thoughtful and interesting to read. Then she dives a bit too deep. The rest of the book reads like a Wikipedia page. Too boring but informative.
John Devlin
Not much of a look inside algorithms. I was hoping for more math but I might be in the minority with that.

She’s a personable writer but most of what is collected is just that. A compilation of contemporary observations gleaned from many open sources.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-abridge
Listening to this book reminds me of how different and complicated our world became!! Highly recommend it! Quick nice read.
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Dr Hannah Fry is a lecturer in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL. She works alongside a unique mix of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, architects and geographers to study the patterns in human behaviour - particularly in an urban setting. Her research applies to a wide range of social problems and questions, from shopping and transport to ...more
“Because the future doesn’t just happen. We create it.” 1 likes
“using algorithms as a mirror to reflect the real world isn’t always helpful, especially when the mirror is reflecting a present reality that only exists because of centuries of bias.” 0 likes
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