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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

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  38 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 4.28  · 
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 ·  139 ratings  ·  38 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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
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
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
Lucas Wiman
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is really a pretty impressive achievement: it's very funny, informative, topical and the cartoons are cute too. The writing style is somewhat reminiscent of Randall Monroe (author of xkcd and "What If?"), though with fewer digressions into unrelated subjects. The audience for this book is really quite broad: I think even top experts will get something out of reading it, but it's also appropriate for anyone who wants to learn more about AI or just read a funny book.

I know a little about
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a longtime follower of AI Weirdness, and this is a great book. If you are new to AI, it's easy to understand the key concepts, as Janelle makes complex topics accessible through wonderful examples. Reading this book is a fun way to get yourself familiar with the language of AI as you will inevitably be faced with it. There are killer (literally in some cases) examples, funny (if the AI isn't making the jokes) cartoons and great (if you are a human reading the book) takeaways.

I loved it so
Todd N
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always been a fan of Ms. Shane’s blog because it is informative, weird, and funny. In this book she turned up the informative and turned down the other two just a bit. It’s a great overview of what machine learning/AI (mostly neural nets) can and cannot do.

These neural nets can start working in unintended ways, which brings up really interesting ethical issues (in particular issues with bias) and either surprisingly funny or dire solutions to the problems they are supposed
Shannon Clark
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this funny and important book about the limits of AI. Not just technologists and company founders like myself who are building companies that may use AI but everyone who lives and works in our modern society where the impact of AI is increasingly all around us. For good and for ill. (My autocorrect on my phone for example kept trying to make ill into I’ll in that last sentence.

AI is simultaneously under and over hyped and poorly understood by nearly everyone. This is a
Grace T
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Super accessible, lots of laugh-out-loud moments (not least the list of AI-generated appellations for Benedict Cumberbatch, included for no particular reason, and the various ways AIs cheat as they try to learn new things), and all the adorable little cartoons. I got this book from the library mainly because the title and cover grabbed me immediately, and it did not disappoint. I probably haven't absorbed all of the terms that were introduced, but I definitely have a better sense of what AI can ...more
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you know anything about ML/AI, this is a great book to read, packed with stories about how various "AIs" (I hate that term) hack their datasets/environments and their own reward functions to solve problems. The stories are laugh-out-loud funny and insightful, and illustrated with the cutest comics.

(Just don't expect to actually learn how to program anything in ML/AI from this book. There is a chapter on algorithms and how they work, but it's kind of weirdly-organised and at best will only
Paul Miller
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Approachable introduction to the limitations of AI/Machine Learning. Makes a convincing case for AI's limitations (think the brain of a worm), but doesn't paint any of the future (beyond it's very far away). Given the level of investment (and theft) by the Chinese in AI technology, plus the rate of technology advancement, in the end it's hard to buy that the current limitations will persist for decades.
Anne Janzer
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Our AI overlords are coming and they're ... somewhat absurd.

Whether you believe the hand-wringing or the hype about artificial intelligence, this book is both reassuring. Janelle Shane manages to make topics like Markov Chains and unintentional memorization fascinating and funny. That's an exceptional feat of nonfiction writing.

I'd recommend this book to anyone even mildly interested in better understanding all of the buzz around Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late October.

Ahh, this is the source for those weird-ass list of cat names and recipes. With the help of programmers, AI draws from a huge catalog of pickup lines to create their own. There's a minor hit to major miss ratio when you ask AI for its own original ideas. With its cute comic sketches, oof, people who love punnynerdy jokes and memes would adore this book.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book isn't for everyone, but it is for people looking at our own future with AI. So, I guess it is for everyone.
This book reads easily, complex computer science is presented at a layman's level without sounding condescending... all-around a well written book.
Full on anecdotes to make (what could be) a dry subject funny at times, there are plenty of real-world examples of AI effecting our lives today.
**I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a cute and fun book about AI and ML that still does a good job touching on its major issues. A lot of the books you read on the topic are (understandably) dark af and I appreciated the levity. This is a good example of computer science communication. You don't need to be an expert or even a beginner to get something real out of this.
Michael de Plater
Great example of what humans and AI can achieve together

I loved this book. It was funny, fascinating and more inspiring for thinking about our sci-fi future than Black Mirror and Westworld. It cuts through a lot of science fiction cliches and technology hype to give an excellent overview of current and near future AI potential and limitation.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one the best book I've ever read about AI. it's well researched and humorous at the same time.
I loved the humour, the style of writing and the clarity of the explanations.
I will surely visit the author's blog and look forward to reading her further books.
Highly recommended
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun and informative

I have long followed Janelle on Twitter and like to see the things her bots try to create so I immensely enjoyed getting to learn, in a very accessible way, the steps they took to get there.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So great! I’ve loved Janelle Shane’s AI Weirdness site for a long time, and she does a wonderful job of explaining how current machine-learning based AI works with humor as well as a great deal of sensitivity towards the social and ethical issues at play.
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.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Funny and educational. Adorable illustrations sprinkled throughout. Piles of sources an footnotes.

Basically everything I want from a non-fiction title.
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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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