Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine [Review]

November 5, 2018

Its a new week, hope you achieve all that you have planned out for the entire week. Today I have a book that captured my attention just from the title. Some of you might know that I majored in Computer Science and this title just reminded me of the first program we were required to write for our first practical. And let me just tell you how clueless I was but yeah I adapted. The first semester of my degree way something else; stressful, but that is a story for another day (If you’d like to know more, let me know).

Lets get to the review.

Book Details

Title: Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine || Author: Hannah Fry || Published: 6 September 2018 || Imprint: Random House UK || Publicist: Anje Niemandt || Pages: 243

Summary

A look inside the algorithms that are shaping our lives and the dilemmas they bring with them.

If you were accused of a crime, who would you rather decide your sentence—a mathematically consistent algorithm incapable of empathy or a compassionate human judge prone to bias and error? What if you want to buy a driverless car and must choose between one programmed to save as many lives as possible and another that prioritizes the lives of its own passengers? And would you agree to share your family’s full medical history if you were told that it would help researchers find a cure for cancer?

These are just some of the dilemmas that we are beginning to face as we approach the age of the algorithm, when it feels as if the machines reign supreme. Already, these lines of code are telling us what to watch, where to go, whom to date, and even whom to send to jail. But as we rely on algorithms to automate big, important decisions—in crime, justice, healthcare, transportation, and money—they raise questions about what we want our world to look like. What matters most: Helping doctors with diagnosis or preserving privacy? Protecting victims of crime or preventing innocent people being falsely accused?

Hello World takes us on a tour through the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us on a daily basis. Mathematician Hannah Fry reveals their inner workings, showing us how algorithms are written and implemented, and demonstrates the ways in which human bias can literally be written into the code. By weaving in relatable, real world stories with accessible explanations of the underlying mathematics that power algorithms, Hello World helps us to determine their power, expose their limitations, and examine whether they really are improvement on the human systems they replace.

My Thoughts

Hello world discusses 7 topics; power, data, justice, medicine, cars, crime and art. In these topics, Hannah goes into details as to how humans can react to decisions required for each topic and how algorithms work. These are compared perfectly in a manner that can be understood by everyone even if you don’t know much about algorithms.

The author did a fantastic job describing all the technical details in a simple way. I actually enjoyed her writing style, it perfectly portrays the authors humor throughout the book. She includes relevant examples that we encounter in our everyday lives. 

The book flows nicely from topic to topic which is amazing and everything fits in perfectly at the end when conclusions are presented.

The topic addressed in this book is relevant to the period we live in now. Most things are being automated and everyone needs to understand the impact of using algorithms. Its not just a certain group of people that are involved but algorithms cut across all departments. Thus this book, provides that awareness throughout different topics.

Overall, I’d highly recommend this book to everyone because it addresses matters that we need to be aware of considering the time that we live in. Not to be bias and all that, but check this book out.

Rating

Those were my thoughts about this books. Thank you Penguin Random House SA  for sending me a review copy. For more book related, lifestyle and natural hair related posts, please do consider subscribing to my blog and if you’re on Instagram you can find me here.

Until next time, lets keep reading.

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