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You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place
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You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  450 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Discover the book that Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Daniel Pink, and Adam Grant want you to read this year, an "accessible, informative, and hilarious" introduction to the weird and wonderful world of artificial intelligence (Ryan North).
"You look like a thing and I love you" is one of the best pickup lines ever... according to an
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Voracious
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Lucas Wiman Yes, it has cartoons in it that are adorable and also contain a lot of the jokes. I wouldn't recommend this as an audiobook.

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  450 ratings  ·  101 reviews

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Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, irreverent guide to the world of artificial intelligence from the woman behind the fantastic AI Weirdness blog. The book's central premise can be summed up in a sentence: artificial intelligence is more widespread than we think... but it's also pretty stupid. Hence the many funny, charming and even cute examples of machine-generated oddness throughout: recipes that call for 'liquid toe water'; a list of Halloween costumes that includes 'Panda Clam' and 'Failed Steampunk Spider' (I ...more
Sleepless Dreamer
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in return for my unbiased review!

This book provides an excellent summary of AI and how it works. It's written in a funny and easy going style, with absolutely adorable sketches. Seriously, it's worth reading this for the AI doodles. They made me burst out laughing a few times.

Moreover, as someone with almost no knowledge about AI, I can say confidently that this book manages to be clear and understandable, even if you don't
Alex Sarll
I have to be very careful when I check Janelle Shane's AI Weirdness blog, because it has more than once left me laughing so much I couldn't breathe with its lists of an artificial intelligence's efforts to generate new entries in a given category – if you've somehow not seen any, I'd particularly recommend the paint colours and the names for guinea pigs. This book does draw from those lists, not least in the title – an AI-suggested chat-up line, and TBH one which would probably work on me. But ...more
E.M. Swift-Hook
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Secrets Snowmen Won't tell You

In a time when we are all being told about the terrors of sentient AI taking over the world, AI's inventing their own languages and having to be turned off and other such terrifying prospects, discovering that an AI lists in it's top ten favourite animals 'razorbill with wings hanging about 4 inches from one's face and a heart tattoo on a frog' is the perfect antidote!

This book is full of such hilarious AI misunderstandings, but it is also an excellent survey of
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf-science
This book was fun and informative enough to be worth reading, but it was also a little thin and repetitive at times. I do feel like I know more about how algorithms work and how they can go wrong, so there we go - mission accomplished.
Merc Rustad
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A delightful, hilarious, fascinating look at what AI can (and can't) do; the illustrations are like icing, so sweet and perfect. I loved every page of this book! :D A readable, cheerful voice and entertaining anecdotes about the weirdness of AI and machine learning makes this a fast-paced, completely absorbing read. It's wonderful and highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I would have loved to have this on my kindle, because there was plenty of highlight-worthy material: lots of interesting facts to remember and lots of hilarious AI-generated lists.
I’m not sure why I developed such a fascination with AI, but it’s probably Hannah Fry’s fault. Her delightful Hello, World certainly encouraged it. People who enjoyed that book would enjoy this one too.
Janelle Shane based it on her blog, and sections of it made me laugh so hard a coworker threatened
C. S.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
"For the foreseeable future, the danger will not be that AI is too smart but that it’s not smart enough."

This was a really fun read. It's not the overly optimistic tech utopia book that I was afraid it would be, but also it has a lot of optimism in it. I also really liked how thoroughly the problem of bias in tech and how that translates to AI was covered.

The material itself was fascinating and often hilarious, and if I have a complaint it's that a lot of the information is repeated in what
Nicky Drayden
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm legit scared of murderbots now, so thanks? Great read. Fascinating insight into the best and worst AI has to offer.
Kam Yung Soh
An excellent and hilarious book about the state of actual AI technology in the world (as opposed to the AIs you may see in popular media) and why they can do weird things. As it turns out, the weirdness can be due to the data used to train the AI, in how the AI processes the data and in how we tell the AI to solve a problem for us. You will get a good understanding of how AIs actually work and what they can (and can't) do and also how AIs can actually help humans do their jobs (or entertain us ...more
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I crack up every time I read Shane's ridiculous tumblr posts about neural-net-generated paint colors and recipes. So I asked for this book for Christmas, expecting merely a few more silly jokes.

Instead, I got an incredibly well-written and thorough (but still funny!) overview of the realistic possibilities and limitations of what's currently being hyped as "Artificial Intelligence"*... It's not what I expected, but definitely wonderful.

I was looking for a resource like this to give to
Aaron Mikulsky
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was a quick read with not a lot of meat. I’ve captured the nuggets below that highlight my findings from the book. I would not waste my time reading the book, but it’s ok if you know nothing about AI and ML.

More and more of our lives are being governed by algorithms.
Sometimes AI is only a small part of a program while the rest of it is rules-based scripting. Other programs start out as AI-powered but switch control over to humans (CSC from chat bot to humans or self-driving cars) if
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
AI explained through a set of logical and entertaining examples. Sometimes the examples even stray towards the absurd, in the best way. Janelle Shane puts together a comprehensive look at what AI is, how it works, what it's capable of doing, and most importantly - what it's NOT capable of doing. A must read for anyone who is interested (or concerned) about how AI affects our world.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So fun, with the same irreverent tone as her blog, but while also covering an insane amount of information about AI and its capabilities (and failures). I listened to the audiobook, which was really nicely narrated. Hearing the AI-generated knock-knock jokes read aloud was a huge highlight.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, first of all, You Look Like A Thing and I Love You is a pick up line AI came up with and as far as pick up lines go it’s actually pretty good. And hilarious. Pretty good and hilarious is an apt way to describe this entire book, actually. Especially if, like me, you’re interested in AI and find autocorrect hysterical. Because, as it turns out, advancements in robotics, specifically robotic intelligence are nowhere near as…well, as advanced as you might think. Or hope. Which, personally, I ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a profound collection of accomplishments and caveats of AI algorithms and how they are being deployed. Running against the grain of today's hype of the field, Janelle Shane's book is deeply appreciated, especially since she is an accomplished practitioner in the field and not just a gadfly critic.

I first became aware of her via her blog, which excells showcasing her irreverent approach to exploring what's today called AI. The blog serves as a stream of miniature snippets
John Deardurff
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fun and witty introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Janelle is the mastermind behind the website and uses humor and cartoons to explain the complex concepts of machine learning and algorithms that are behind the world of AI. I also learned way too much about the cockroach industry. The title of the book comes from one of her experiments were she has a bot come up with romantic pick-up lines based on a collection of a thousand cheesy one-liners. If you are afraid of a ...more
Sara Perkins
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful and accessible introduction to the current capabilities and applications of AI. I learned a lot about the basic challenges of developing and training AI and the humorous anecdotes make the information more memorable. I have no background in computer science and I wanted to read this book at every work break I had. I know I will be following the author’s blog from now on.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating overview of AI today. Easy to read and easy to understand, the book lays out just what is AI and perhaps importantly these days what isn't AI. Some of the examples and stories are fab and all torn from real-life and sometimes the headlines.

Beware of giraffes...

And also, what a fabulous title!
Andrew Breza
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is to deep learning what Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise is for predictive modeling: a must read for everybody with even a passing interest in the topic. I run a data science department and spend much of my time in the weeds of building models, cleaning data, and attending meetings. It's easy to lose the big picture. This book offers an urgently needed high level view of the field of AI. Beginners and experts alike can benefit from Shane's insight and ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This was funny and enjoyable, but it was more like a series of stories of how AI's have failed. It touched on some overarching topics, often very repetitively, but it didn't go into much depth. It's basically an entertaining listicle.
Teri Temme
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book! Excellent!!!
Bowman Dickson
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Solid! Fun book really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I have been following true author on twitter for a while so recognized a lot of stuff and already appreciated her humor a lot, would be curious what those without the same background think
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A short and sweet book about AI. Nothing too deep or complicated. Minus one star for repetitive bits despite the limited material.
Meagan Houle
Fun, hilarious and accessible, you're sure to love this weird and wonderful explanation of how AI really works, what it can (and can't) do, and how it may shape our future. Even if you're not interested in the nuts and bolts of how neural networks are trained, the light-hearted laughs and dark cautionary tales should be plenty interesting on their own.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting information about how AI works, it’s current uses, it’s possible futures. Also funny, because Shane has a sense of humor about her work and machine learning.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
First, I’d like to thank Hachette Audio, Janelle Shane, and for allowing me to listen to this audiobook for free.

This audiobook is under five hours long and gives a great explanation of AI (artificial intelligence) for those who don’t know much about it already. The narrator uses a very nice robot voice to represent the AI. Explanations use everyday language and gives meanings for computer/programming terms. Somewhere, I read that this book was almost like a “Astrophysics for People in
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nbic-books, science
With You Look Like a Thing and I Love You, Janelle Shane has given us an amusing, engaging, in depth, and surprisingly approachable explanation of how AI works, what it’s good for (and not good for) and why. This is one of those unique books about technology that’s written for non-technologists, yet manages to be in-depth enough to be a resource for those whose knowledge ranges from “I heard about AI once” to “the concepts are familiar, but coding AI is not my day job.” While I build software ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been following this author's blog for awhile now and I was so excited when I saw this book was going to be released that I requested it from my library ahead of time.

It was exactly the kind of humorous and informative writing I've come to appreciate from the author's blog. I'm good with computers, but I'm no programmer (though whenever I read about neural networks I wish I'd had more time to take some computer science classes in college). The author is good at boiling things down in a way
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book thanks to Net Galley and publisher Voracious/Little, Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review.

So fun fact: I am on a PhD program currently with 9 other students and about 5 of those students are doing hardcore AI projects. Personally I know nothing about AI and whenever they would talk about their research, I would automatically switch off. However, this doesn't build the best working relationship so I thought I would try reading around the area so I
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While moonlighting as a research scientist, Janelle Shane found fame documenting the often hilarious antics of AI algorithms.

Janelle Shane's humor blog,, looks at, as she tells it, "the strange side of artificial intelligence." Her upcoming book, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How AI Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place, uses cartoons and humorous pop-culture
“Another application that may be particularly vulnerable to adversarial attack is fingerprint reading. A team from New York University Tandon and Michigan State University showed that it could use adversarial attacks to design what it called a masterprint—a single fingerprint that could pass for 77 percent of the prints in a low-security fingerprint reader.14 The team was also able to fool higher-security readers, or commercial fingerprint readers trained on different datasets, a significant portion of the time. The masterprints even looked like regular fingerprints—unlike other spoofed images that contain static or other distortions—which made the spoofing harder to spot.” 0 likes
“An AI shown a sheep with polka dots or tractors painted on its sides will report seeing the sheep but will not report anything unusual about it. When you show it a sheep-shaped chair with two heads, or a sheep with too many legs, or with too many eyes, the algorithm will also merely report a sheep. Why are AIs so oblivious to these monstrosities? Sometimes it’s because they don’t have a way to express them. Some AIs can only answer by outputting a category name—like “sheep”—and aren’t given an option for expressing that yes, it is a sheep, but something is very, very wrong.” 0 likes
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