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320 pages, ebook
First published September 1, 2018
Among all of the staggeringly impressive, mindboggling things that data and statistics can tell me, how it feels to be human isn't one of them.This is the book I've been searching for, the book I had been hoping for when I read Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy a couple of months ago. Both books cover similar concepts and even examples, but while I found Weapons overly negative and pessimistic, Fry wonderfully covers both the problems and the huge, huge benefits of using algorithms and statistics. Because, really, if algorithms were only negative, we wouldn't be using them, would we? Fry's arguments and conclusions (that we should be using the strengths of algorithms to supplement human decision making and get round human weaknesses, and vice versa) are balanced and well-evidenced.
"It's about asking if an algorithm is having a net benefit on society."
"Perhaps more ominous, given how much of our information we now get from algorithms like search engines, is how much agency people believed they had in their own opinions: 'When people are unaware how are being manipulated, they tend to believe hey have adopted their new thinking voluntarily,' Epstein wrote in the original paper."
"For the time being, worrying about evil AI is a bit like worrying about overcrowding on Mars."