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How to Speak Machine: Laws of Design for a Digital Age
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How to Speak Machine: Laws of Design for a Digital Age

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  27 reviews
John Maeda is one of the world's preeminent thinkers on technology and design, and in How to Speak Machine, he offers a set of simple laws that govern not only the computers of today, but the unimaginable machines of the future.

Machines are already more powerful than we can comprehend, and getting more powerful at an exponential pace. Once set in motion, algorithms never
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 21st 2019 by Portfolio Penguin
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Love this:
Perhaps I wrote this book for you. Perhaps you are the hero the world has been waiting for. Perhaps you are one of the many who will find a way to wield the power of computation with inventiveness and wonder. Those kinds of heroes are now desperately needed in order to advance computation beyond what it is today in its superpowerful, albeit running with the conflicted conscience of a teenager, form. Being new to the computational universe, you just might discover something that we fi
Moh. Nasiri
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Blinkist summary:

Speaking machine involves understanding the fundamental differences between the ways computers and humans think. Machines think in logical loops, repeating tasks endlessly until stopped by a command. And they process quantitative, rather than qualitative data, which they can’t interpret in the same way humans can. If more people learn these differences, we can confidently face a future where computers play an even more dominant role in our lives and where no one will get left be
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
I am familiar with machines. So, this book was thoroughly enjoyable as John explains the concepts very beautifully and succinctly.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bizbooks, digest
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A quick and easy read for people who live in the tech world. The author’s unusual credentials as an MIT trained computer scientist with a degree in the arts give him an unusual perspective on the ongoing conflict between a computational approach and a humanistic one in our increasingly software driven world. The book is abstract at times, as you would expect from an artist, and incredibly nerdy at others as you would expect from a techie-programmer. The Japanese Zen/Koan-style references are a b ...more
Stacy Taylor
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, nonfiction
I’m clearly not the target audience of this book, as most of the topics discussed were things I’m already familiar with. I could see it being a good primer for less tech-savvy folks trying to understand the way that technology rules our lives, but I question how many of them are likely to discover and read this book.
Kate Sawyer
Feb 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
The author is really obnoxious
Outdoors Nerd
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a didactic love letter to computers, providing a foundation and a framework for product teams, business leaders, policymakers and everyone else to address technosocietal challenges.

Delivered with palpable passion and hope, the author’s breadth of knowledge and depth of thought are inspiring; you will learn a lot from this book irrespective of your computational experience...

-the foundation of all computation to how this level of understanding can augment multidisciplinary technical teams;

Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Maeda’s work is an attempt to initiate the wider public in the computational world. The idea is not to teach programming, but to demonstrate how a computer thinks and works, and what are its main principles.

Although it’s an accessible work, and it succeeds in using a language tailored to a wider audience, it lacks a certain coherence. The chapters seem to be somewhat disconnected. Of course they are talking about the same subject, but more editing would be beneficial. For instance, the chapter M
Artur Coelho
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Um curioso manifesto de humanismo na computação. Maeda faz parte do corrente sistema do mundo, da economia das plataformas digitais, do otimismo Silicon Valley, do move fast and break things. Parte do livro dá-nos a sua percepção como as tecnologias digitais se tornaram a infraestrutura invisível da sociedade contemporânea. Advoga a importância de reconhecermos isso, de não deixarmos a compreensão das suas capacidades e potencialidades nas mãos de uma elite, mas de encontrar formas para que todo ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m going to make a prediction: in about a years’ time I will regret giving this book only 4 stars. I do so now not because I didn’t enjoy John Maeda’s style or stories (I did), but rather because I suspect that I have yet to grasp the significance of the ideas behind this new language of infinite loops and massive and minute scales. The ideas behind data gathering (see Facebook’s example of the “daily me report” that is our timeline) makes complete sense yet I am unable to really feel its impac ...more
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. You can tell Maeda is having a lot of fun with this book. Each chapter is explained beautifully in simple terms. There is copious usage of simile and metaphor which makes hard to understand concepts digestible. I learned a lot and am so happy to have a greater perspective on computation. It's a balance of people and tech. We cannot forget the people behind the machines ...more
Gisela Margarito
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book for anyone who wants to understand how the technology world works. If you are not working in a tech related business this book will explain you in simple words an analogies how everything works. And if you are already familiar with all the concepts you'll still find a compilation of thoughts about human behavior around technology and reflections on what we could to do better. ...more
Damian Cranney
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I love John Maeda and I’ve followed him in recent years and enjoyed reading his various ‘design in tech’ reports. This book is a philosophical take on where we’re at and whilst I’d recommend it, I found it disjointed at times. I was looking forward to it but found it slightly falling short of my expectations. No doubt - he’ll remain a leading voice on sustainable and computational design.
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Even after spending over half my life in tech, How to speak machine handed me deeper insights on how to design, build, and collaborate around better products and services.

Whether you're in tech or not, this is definitely one worth reading!
Michael A. Bodkin
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction to the technology surrounding us today. I particularly like the focus being on how it effects us rather than the technology its self. I recommend it to any one wanting to understand the regulatory and contol challenges that face us.
Felipe CZ
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting book to help us understand how machines work, since they think in logical loops until they are commanded to stop, processing quantitative data which is not interpreted in the same way that a human does.
Kalina Lipinska
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Maybe interesting for people who don't know anything, I mean ANYTHING, about computers. Otherwise, 80% of the book is very obvious stuff, sometimes an interesting anecdote or historical fact is presented but other than that little value in reading it. ...more
Marcelo Galdieri
Jul 08, 2020 rated it liked it
A nice overview of the importance of understanding how coding works. A bit basic, but still a good read for those who want to know to more about why everyone is talking about coding.
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it
John Maeda is muy simpatico as a writer. Unfortunately his book quite often stops exactly where it begins to get interesting. Would have loved to read more.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
Reiterates obvious things that anyone who has spent 3 minutes on the Internet knows. Topped with oodles of SJW crap. To think someone paid him to write this.
Beverly Hallfrisch
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nerd
Amused me while being delightfully nerdy
Mikah Green
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Leonardo Ferreira
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Um dos 5 melhores livros que já li na vida
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020, science-tech
A 15-minute version of this would make a great intro to how code is revolutionizing everything. But most of this book would be redundant to the people I know.
Jan 27, 2021 rated it did not like it
You'll learn more about John Maeda then how to speak machine. ...more
Foong Ming
May 27, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: dnf
Benoît Fleury
rated it it was ok
Jun 03, 2020
rated it really liked it
Feb 02, 2020
rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2020
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John Maeda [MY-ay-da] is a world-renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist and educator whose career reflects his philosophy of humanizing technology. For more than a decade, he has worked to integrate technology, education and the arts into a 21st-century synthesis of creativity and innovation.

Maeda's early work redefined the use of electronic media as a tool for expression by combini

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