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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 ·  1,698 ratings  ·  318 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 art
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Voracious
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Patience Allergy The Audible version has a 120 page PDF full of illustrations! The narrator was amusing, and when AI was quoted, a Stephen-Hawking-esque text-2-speech …moreThe Audible version has a 120 page PDF full of illustrations! The narrator was amusing, and when AI was quoted, a Stephen-Hawking-esque text-2-speech was used! Definitely good in the audiobook format!(less)

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  1,698 ratings  ·  318 reviews

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Start your review of You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place
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 actuall ...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 kn
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 m ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, non-fiction
Informative on the different things AI gets right and wrong, but also very funny.
Great read.
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been teaching masters students about data mining and machine learning for a couple of years now, so the main points of 'You Look Like a Thing and I Love You' were familiar. I was really reading it for the entertaining examples, which were much more fun than my own. I liked the repeated cockroach factory motif and laughed several times at neural net-generated recipes, names, and general nonsense. Moreover, I learned much more about Markov chains and Generative Adversarial Networks than I kne ...more
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010s, nonfiction

Four stars plus a bonus star for relevancy. I mean they need to teach this in schools. AI is like the evil genii/devil/monkeyspaw that give you exactly what you ask for but never what you want.

So many fascinating and disturbing examples of the types of AI's that are already being used around the world. I mean this is by no means a book of doom and gloom but most of my personal take-away focused on AI's abilities to amplify bias and its almost hysterically evil penchant for taking short-cuts.

Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was fun and actually made me laugh out loud several times. I skimmed some sections as I'm not trying to become an AI scholar, just wanted to get a better idea of what those sneaky AIs are doing out there. The cartoons are great -- I would recommend this as a print book not an audiobook. ...more
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. ...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 wha
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 and pie names. 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 th
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 f ...more
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 t
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! ...more
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.
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 seem
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious and insightful. What more do you need?
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 w ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
This goes right onto my Favorites shelf.

AIs and robots are a huge favorite topic of mine (both fictional ones and real life ones), so it probably isn't a huge surprise that I enjoyed this book so much (and especially when considering I follow Janelle Shane's blog already and have notifications turned on for updates). But You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is just such a hilarious and yet understandable exploration of modern day artificial intelligence, that I feel like you don't have to be we
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. ...more
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.
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 t
What do you think would happen if you created an AI system and gave it the instruction to move from point A to point B in its virtual world? Do you think the AI would grow legs, feet, wings, wheels, tank treads, something else? No. The AI system would build itself into a high tower and then fall over. And that's because it will try to do what you tell it, but it will always use the easiest method.

This is an informative and often very funny book about what artificial intelligence can do now and w
Laura Applebee
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I actually laughed out loud! so funny!
210520: this book is great. it’s funny, informative, accessible to the layperson, and has very cute drawings. i don’t know a single thing more about janelle shane’s personal life than i did when i originally picked it up. men should have to read this before they speak to me.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
You Look Like a Thing and I Love You : How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place (2019) by Janelle Shane is a gem of a book on AI. Shane has a blog AIWeirdness where she uses AI for various amusements such as creating recipes and writing Valentine's Day candy messages. 

The book looks at how AI works and what it can really do from someone who understands the technology. Shane doesn't write nervously about how AI is going to take all our jobs or is going to re
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 fu ...more
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
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!
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved that this demystified aspects of AI! Self-driving cars, google translate, how AI learns bias from humans, etc. The format wasn't my favorite, it was like a textbook that's trying VERY hard to be funny and accessible. Instead of chapters that teach each aspect of machine learning through anecdotes, I would have preferred some deeper dives into case studies. ...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.
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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

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173 likes · 47 comments
“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.” 1 likes
“In 1994, Karl Sims was doing experiments on simulated organisms, allowing them to evolve their own body designs and swimming strategies to see if they would converge on some of the same underwater locomotion strategies that real-life organisms use.5, 6, 7 His physics simulator—the world these simulated swimmers inhabited—used Euler integration, a common way to approximate the physics of motion. The problem with this method is that if motion happens too quickly, integration errors will start to accumulate. Some of the evolved creatures learned to exploit these errors to obtain free energy, quickly twitching small body parts and letting the math errors send them zooming through the water.” 1 likes
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