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Through the technology embedded in almost every major tech platform and every web-enabled device, algorithms and the artificial intelligence that underlies them make a staggering number of everyday choices for us: from what products we buy to where we decide to eat, from how we consume our news to whom we date and how we find a job. We've even delegated life-and-death decisions to algorithms-judgments once made by doctors, pilots, and judges. In A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence, Kartik Hosanagar surveys the brave new world of algorithmic decision making and reveals the potentially dangerous biases to which they can give rise as they increasingly run our lives. He makes the compelling case that we need to arm ourselves with a better, deeper, more nuanced understanding of the phenomenon of algorithmic thinking. The way to achieving that is understanding that algorithms often think a lot like their creators-that is, like you and me.
Hosanagar draws on his own experiences designing algorithms professionally, as well as on examples from history, computer science, and psychology, to explore how algorithms work and why they occasionally go rogue, what drives our trust in them, and the many ramifications of algorithmic decision making. He examines episodes like the fatal accidents of self-driving cars; Microsoft's chatbot Tay, which was designed to converse on social media like a teenage girl, but instead turned sexist and racist; and even our own common, and often frustrating, experiences on services like Netflix and Amazon. A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence is an entertaining and provocative look at one of the most important developments of our time and is a practical user's guide to this first wave of practical artificial intelligence.