Hot Best Seller

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World PDF, ePub eBook

4.6 out of 5
30 review

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World

Availability: Ready to download

File Name: Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World .pdf

How it works:

1. Register a free 1 month Trial Account.

2. Download as many books as you like (Personal use)

3. Cancel the membership at any time if not satisfied.


Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World PDF, ePub eBook A guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology and why we should never assume that computers always get it right. In Artificial Unintelligence, Meredith Broussard argues that our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a tremendous amount of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do ever A guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology and why we should never assume that computers always get it right. In Artificial Unintelligence, Meredith Broussard argues that our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a tremendous amount of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally--hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners--that we have stopped demanding that our technology actually work. Broussard, a software developer and journalist, reminds us that there are fundamental limits to what we can (and should) do with technology. With this book, she offers a guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology--and issues a warning that we should never assume that computers always get things right. Making a case against technochauvinism--the belief that technology is always the solution--Broussard argues that it's just not true that social problems would inevitably retreat before a digitally enabled Utopia. To prove her point, she undertakes a series of adventures in computer programming. She goes for an alarming ride in a driverless car, concluding "the cyborg future is not coming any time soon"; uses artificial intelligence to investigate why students can't pass standardized tests; deploys machine learning to predict which passengers survived the Titanic disaster; and attempts to repair the U.S. campaign finance system by building AI software. If we understand the limits of what we can do with technology, Broussard tells us, we can make better choices about what we should do with it to make the world better for everyone.

30 review for Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gary Moreau

    This book may easily win the prize for the best book that no one wants to read. And that is precisely why it is the one book that everyone must read. Meredith Broussard is a coder, educator, and a computational journalist that specializes in algorithmic accountability reporting. Which is to say that she is a very tech-savvy investigative journalist that emphasizes statistical analysis. (The algorithmic and computational side of it is method more than purpose, to my way of thinking.) She is most d This book may easily win the prize for the best book that no one wants to read. And that is precisely why it is the one book that everyone must read. Meredith Broussard is a coder, educator, and a computational journalist that specializes in algorithmic accountability reporting. Which is to say that she is a very tech-savvy investigative journalist that emphasizes statistical analysis. (The algorithmic and computational side of it is method more than purpose, to my way of thinking.) She is most definitely not a Luddite. “My goal in this book is to empower people around technology.” She embraces technology and the power of algorithms, but with a caveat. She is wary of the autonomous school of computing who wants to turn it all over to the machines. And she makes a very strong case that doing so is both impractical, in the foreseeable future, and inappropriate. “We need to stop fetishizing tech.” It’s an important message. In my own words, machines will never think in the human sense because thought is relative. Even humans have difficulty interpreting reality, which is why so much scientific discovery is ultimately proven to be wrong. All reality exists in context, which means that reality is defined by far more variables than we can comprehend, much less measure and compute. The outer limit may well be infinity. As a result, any attempt to interpret reality and to use that “data” to think is reliant upon convention and limited representation. And convention is, by definition, imperfect. Pyrrho of Elis was a not-so-famous Greek philosopher who introduced what ultimately became known as the philosophical school of skepticism. It has been resiliently unpopular for reasons that psychologists can easily explain. Who wants to hang out with skeptics? And connection is ultimately what we all crave. Pyrrho’s skepticism related to dogma. A dogma is a rule or law or defined procedure or process. A convention is dogma as well. And Pyrrho’s issue with dogma was that whenever you lay it out you have opened the door for a duality—a truth and its exception. There are, quite literally, exceptions to every rule because reality is ultimately defined by an infinite number of variables that can’t be known by either a person or a machine. And that means that the exceptions can never be fully articulated no matter how much computational power you have at your disposal. Algorithms are ultimately nothing more than mathematical dogma. They can, by definition, never be complete. They will always be limited by probabilities, which is why they work at playing Go and translating language at a superficial level, but will never be the “black box” of human sentient consciousness that we all dream of. Never. I have witnessed the debilitating over-confidence in tech that Broussard speaks to repeatedly throughout my career in business. Technology is, in many ways, destroying modern business and, in particular, the social contract that employers used to recognize between employer, employee, and community. Business is consumed with reducing costs, which typically gets falsely interpreted as eliminating bodies. As a result, businesses typically want to automate everything, which, as Broussard explains, means that all of its processes need to be conceptually digitized. They must be restructured to accommodate the very real limitations of mathematics. Which ultimately means that they are often compromised and shaded by the very real personal biases of the person who made the digital conversion. That works some of the time in some circumstances. But not always. No company will ever be successful in fully automating processes like customer service, sales, quality, and innovation. To the extent they try, moreover, they risk disengaging the people they need to actually make those processes, perhaps assisted by technology, effective. Broussard has a strong political perspective. We all do. And there are portions of the book where she falls back on her investigative journalism and strays from the overall objective of the book. It’s always to make a relevant point, and she never quite abandons that objective, but the lapses are notable and just a tad distracting. In part, however, Broussard is admittedly trying to contrast the potential of tech socially and politically with the non-conformist, male-dominated libertarianism of the current tech industry. And that needs to change. The bigger irony, however, is that a culture and industry built on non-conformity is now ultimately turning back on itself, and is not just promoting, but mandating, the ultimate in conformity. And the hidden risk is that unlike the conformity of things like organized religion, technology is forcing us to conform to norms and standards that we aren’t even aware of because the algorithms that drive our decisions and are filled with the human biases of the people who created them, are largely hidden from view. And that is ultimately where, I suppose, algorithmic accountability reporting comes in. And I say, “bring it on.” It’s exactly what we need. In the meantime, however, we need to understand the overriding conceptual paradox of technology. Hal is a myth. The black box is a myth. The autonomous car is a myth (and if we give them broad access to our roads in your lifetime we will regret it). The potential of tech is not a myth. As long as we recognize that humanity is not obsolete, but it is biased.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    A long, meandering read in the Malcolm Gladwell style that takes a long time to make it's point and then doesn't make the point strongly enough. Needs a good edit.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Muromets

    While the book title and premise offers a compelling contrarian angle on an overwhelmingly positive view of AI and the blind adoption of the idea it will be the saviour of our times, the story actually told seems at the very least confused, or at worst, short-sighted. The author's tone is one filled with condescension and distracts from an otherwise powerful point - adoption of "AI" has to be aligned with the capabilities (and limitations) of the technology, and the realities of where this techn While the book title and premise offers a compelling contrarian angle on an overwhelmingly positive view of AI and the blind adoption of the idea it will be the saviour of our times, the story actually told seems at the very least confused, or at worst, short-sighted. The author's tone is one filled with condescension and distracts from an otherwise powerful point - adoption of "AI" has to be aligned with the capabilities (and limitations) of the technology, and the realities of where this technology fits in society. Irrelevant tangents and incessant moralizing weave a common thread through entire chapters. The story of the feebleness of our current technical capabilities somehow morphs into a tale about social virtues, systemic misogyny, racism, and the author's bitterness of not being included and venerated in some social circles. On the bright side, if you have the patience to get past the style, the book is full of interesting examples where AI, machine learning, and other similar technologies fall flat or at least short of the idyllic potential. In Chapter 6, a section reads: "Paul Slovic, an expert in risk assessment, writes that we have cognitive fallacies related to expertise. We tend to assume that when people are experts at one thing, their expertise extends to other areas as well." It's unfortunate that the author's reference wasn't applied more introspectively.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    A shallow mind preaching a primitivist sermon. Is Broussard right? Sometimes. Only by the middle of this book I started to doubt Broussard's reason and assume this is actually a collage of Internet gathered arguments.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pedro Martinez

    A joyful read for the exciting moment where every field has taken a computational turn. Meredith Broussard warns us about the Techno-chauvinists that try to apply “digital” to every aspect of life resulting in a tremendous amount of poorly designed technology. As the vaunted “Artificial Intelligence” is nothing more than “narrow AI”, appropriate to speed the process up, but inadequate when replicating inequality and biases from its very-human developers. An interesting chapter describes how the A joyful read for the exciting moment where every field has taken a computational turn. Meredith Broussard warns us about the Techno-chauvinists that try to apply “digital” to every aspect of life resulting in a tremendous amount of poorly designed technology. As the vaunted “Artificial Intelligence” is nothing more than “narrow AI”, appropriate to speed the process up, but inadequate when replicating inequality and biases from its very-human developers. An interesting chapter describes how the last decades of IT Technology have been satelliting around a small non-diverse group of elites (very white and very male) much more interested in whacky creative ideas than gender politics, safety, or ethical usage of technology. Because we tend to assume that when people are expert in something, their expertise extends to other areas as well. But being good with computers is not the same than being good with people. And I entirely coincide with the author’s pitch of balancing genius and brilliance, with empathy and hard work. Other ideas related to why the autonomous car is not a very good idea, or how some “technocharlatans” are not honest about the debt of what it takes to keep technology working. Worth the book ride!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ronald J.

    The author is skeptical that technology will save the world. It’s not the eschaton. She quit to become a journalist because there was no one else in computer science that looked like her? I’m skeptical of her reasons for why more women aren’t in STEM, but that’s a different topic. I also note she didn’t really explain why in the Titanic disaster more women survived because of the “women and children first” ethic that existed back then, which is gone today (why is it gone?, is my question). I’m a The author is skeptical that technology will save the world. It’s not the eschaton. She quit to become a journalist because there was no one else in computer science that looked like her? I’m skeptical of her reasons for why more women aren’t in STEM, but that’s a different topic. I also note she didn’t really explain why in the Titanic disaster more women survived because of the “women and children first” ethic that existed back then, which is gone today (why is it gone?, is my question). I’m also very skeptical of her notions of “social justice,” a term she never really defines, and is usually a pretense for more government and less liberty. She writes, “Ultimately, everything we do with computers comes down to math, and there are limits to what we can (and should) do with it.” This is true. Humanity is more than math, and we can’t escape human nature with technology. She calls the flawed assumption that technology is always the solution technochauvinism. Then she equates them to Ayn Randian meritocracy, which misses how many people of leftist persuasion are in Silicon Valley and other tech areas. Her discussion on general AI and narrow AI is good (narrow AI is what we have, general is the dream of Hollywood and science fiction). I appreciated this: “When we rely exclusively on computation for answers to complex social issues, we are relying on artificial intelligence. …It has no sentience, and it has no soul.” Also, all data comes down to people, since it is socially constructed, and made by people. Even data made by computers, because people make computers. A computer is not like a brain. If you take a piece out of a brain it will reroute pathways to compensate, and has an ability, under specific circumstances, to repair itself. A computer doesn’t. She pointed out that all the hype surrounding the algorithms in the AlphaGo victory ignored the humans worked over many years to create the training data. Is AlphaGo smart? Its designers are. The discussion on technology is public schools, though one can differ with how to deal with this issue, she wants public education to succeed—but is this a dream or reality. There’s an interesting history on Marvin Minsky, considered the father of AI. But the gap in this work is there’s no in-depth exploration of Kurt Godel, John von Neumann, Claude Shannon, among others, who proved that AI needed an “oracle” outside of itself to prove certain axioms within the system. I hope the author reads George Gilder’s Life After Google for the real reason AI is a false eschaton. Also, she discusses price discrimination as a boogeyman, not noticing—and for a journalist this is an egregious oversight—that price discrimination is ubiquitous, and has many social welfare benefits, such as coupons, senior discounts, children’s prices, lower drug prices in lower-income countries, etc. She’s also very skeptical about autonomous cars, and recounts her experiences with them. Fair enough. But does that mean government shouldn’t allow them? I am all for permissionless innovation, as government is as flawed as we humans in foreseeing the future and “fixing problems.” I share her views on popular vs. good and how today’s society is mad for measurement. And I certainly agree with her that humans + machines outperform humans alone or machines alone, so-called human-in-the-loop systems. It’s why I’m not worried about AI “taking our jobs.” “No man is better than a machine, and no machine is better than a man with a machine,” according to Paul Tudor Jones, head of Tudor Investment Corp. I do believe George Gilder's book, Life After Google, is a far better explanation of why AI won't "eat the world," but there are some good points in this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kiril

    This book started out great but then quickly turned into a sermon bent on demonizing technology, men and especially the mixture of the two. I first heard about it on a podcast episode and decided to pick it up because I got the impression it would present a fresh perspective on the promise of tech. In this relation, the book did deliver some reasonable criticism as opposed to the usual glorification of technology. The author raises some important issues mostly related to how technology reflects t This book started out great but then quickly turned into a sermon bent on demonizing technology, men and especially the mixture of the two. I first heard about it on a podcast episode and decided to pick it up because I got the impression it would present a fresh perspective on the promise of tech. In this relation, the book did deliver some reasonable criticism as opposed to the usual glorification of technology. The author raises some important issues mostly related to how technology reflects the flaws of its creators and how in spite of its potential to alleviate some of the pressing global problems it has contributed to a rise in inequality, harassment and unethical profiteering on behalf of a rather small share of people. Computers’ highly mathematical way of reasoning and their failure to accurately reflect on some of the less quantifiable aspects of human nature and the intricate social relationships it gives rise to are also discussed – as are some of the more obscure and less ethical episodes of the development of the tech industry as we know it. All in all, the book gives some food for thought. It has plenty of valid arguments but it fails to sufficiently elaborate on any of them which made it feel somewhat unconvincing. This as well as some of the rhetoric which was borderline antagonistic are my main gripes with it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jim Dennis

    I work in advertising technology and there is a lot of the technochauvinism in my industry that the book is mostly about. There are many technical platforms that purport to do the best at what they do but the reality is no one knows anything, and many companies that claim to have the most elevating tech are only part of the way there, and are faking until they make it. Broussard’s book deals with the application of tech and AI in various situations within this context. Overall an excellent and e I work in advertising technology and there is a lot of the technochauvinism in my industry that the book is mostly about. There are many technical platforms that purport to do the best at what they do but the reality is no one knows anything, and many companies that claim to have the most elevating tech are only part of the way there, and are faking until they make it. Broussard’s book deals with the application of tech and AI in various situations within this context. Overall an excellent and eye-opening book. Some chapters are stronger than others, some with good premises but needed to be fleshed out more in a longer book. Much like the industry she covers, we are only getting a perfunctory understanding of the ethical issues that tech is causing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Simon Mcleish

    Some interesting thoughts, in a journalistic style. A patronising tone here and there, and some bits which seemed to be included just because they had been written for something else and were available. I found the main argument unconvincing - just because computers don't really understand the world around them at the moment doesn't mean that they might not be made to be better at it than otherwise. And in either case, the connection of understanding with ethics in IT is not immediate (people wi Some interesting thoughts, in a journalistic style. A patronising tone here and there, and some bits which seemed to be included just because they had been written for something else and were available. I found the main argument unconvincing - just because computers don't really understand the world around them at the moment doesn't mean that they might not be made to be better at it than otherwise. And in either case, the connection of understanding with ethics in IT is not immediate (people with evil views still understand the world around them in ways in which computers cannot, so understanding does not necessarily promote liberal ethics).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Richard Thompson

    From the the cover blurb: Broussard, a software developer and data journalist, makes a case against techno-chauvinism — the belief that technology is always the best solution. I use the term Techno-Pollyanna for people who get too rah-rah about the next big tech fix without doing any critical thinking about what they are gushing about. Broussard warns the reader that things can get a bit technical and mathy in places, and she is right, but overall the book makes a lot of good points about the appro From the the cover blurb: Broussard, a software developer and data journalist, makes a case against techno-chauvinism — the belief that technology is always the best solution. I use the term Techno-Pollyanna for people who get too rah-rah about the next big tech fix without doing any critical thinking about what they are gushing about. Broussard warns the reader that things can get a bit technical and mathy in places, and she is right, but overall the book makes a lot of good points about the appropriate limits of our love affair with computers and AI technology.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James

    If you are clueless about what computer science is? Then this is the book for you. But if you are relatively experienced with programming then this comes as more of a primer than a philosophical enlightener. This book verbalizes what machine learning is to laymen by giving practical uses for technology and reportative journalism in its sections. It has some sort of explainer for TensorFlow ( python machine learning library) but it is not comprehensive enough to teach you how to make a machine le If you are clueless about what computer science is? Then this is the book for you. But if you are relatively experienced with programming then this comes as more of a primer than a philosophical enlightener. This book verbalizes what machine learning is to laymen by giving practical uses for technology and reportative journalism in its sections. It has some sort of explainer for TensorFlow ( python machine learning library) but it is not comprehensive enough to teach you how to make a machine learning project. Overall this book is great for conjuring thoughts for a paper you have to write :p

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    I was predisposed to like this book because I teach a class on the book's subject at CUNY, but Broussard does a good job of taking a skeptical look at artificial intelligence through the lens of her own reporting experiences. I found the beginning a little basic, but the specific examples about self-driving cars, campaign finance, and inner city textbooks show the benefits and potential pitfalls of narrow AI. It's an excellent read in helping to understand why humans are just as important during I was predisposed to like this book because I teach a class on the book's subject at CUNY, but Broussard does a good job of taking a skeptical look at artificial intelligence through the lens of her own reporting experiences. I found the beginning a little basic, but the specific examples about self-driving cars, campaign finance, and inner city textbooks show the benefits and potential pitfalls of narrow AI. It's an excellent read in helping to understand why humans are just as important during this technical revolution.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Highly readable! The highly-informed author outlines the technical, superficial limitations of technology, but also delved into tech's ethical limitations and the problematic culture of the tech community. Everyone who works in public policy should read this, as should every bro who worships Elon Musk. In fact, almost everyone should read this because most of us don't know nearly enough about the technology that we put so much blind faith in.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ayush Bhat

    It's always refreshing to read a solid critique by someone who clearly knows her tech. You shouldn't miss this book. Broussard masterfully mixes personal anecdote, deep insights about the limitations of AI technologies (the true kind, not the world-domination fantasies coming from Sci-Fi,) ethical discussion, social commentary, and tons of wit.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Funny, sarcastic, smart, realistic and well written : It is a serious book about a complex topic written with humor, illustrated by day-life examples and metaphors that makes it understandable. I found myself laughing and looking forward to read further, which is pretty rare. If you wonder what AI are, for real, and how humans fits in the whole concept, do not hesitate, just buy it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anne Janzer

    This book is relevant and important today, as algorithms control more and more of our daily lives. But it also enjoyable to read. Broussard does an exemplary job of explaining the nuances of artificial intelligence to the ordinary person.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vera Gergely

    did not finish

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark Congiusta

    An interesting read when it manages to avoid loosely relevant tangents.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chant Cowen

    Meh.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Miroslav Pikus

    zbytocne roztahane, dost som preskakoval, ale zopar myslienok ma oslovilo. Veru tazko je najst knizku co aj trochu pohejtuje to tie pocitace

  21. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Pentecost

  22. 5 out of 5

    Max

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  25. 5 out of 5

    L

  26. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Law

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marisol Garrido

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vipassana

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mihai Barbat

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zara Rahman

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.