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Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World (edition 2012)

by Christopher Steiner

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1043116,035 (3.71)1
Member:FranklynCee
Title:Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World
Authors:Christopher Steiner
Info:Portfolio Hardcover (2012), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:business, math, science, science on the edge, cultural studies, economics, radical ideas, history

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Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner

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I was not engaged by, nor did I enjoy, this book. I was hoping for more war stories by pioneers in finance, medicine, and science. Instead I found a non-technical text whose point would have been better made in a long magazine article than in book-length form. ( )
  sci901 | Mar 30, 2014 |
Betrays its origins as a business book: the best bit was the anecdotal, teadable account of the beginnings of automated trading on Wall Street. it's a little choppy and patchy, also completely skips over the math of the algorithms it talks about. Still, I read it with great interest and definitely found areas for further reading and research. ( )
  Katong | Aug 10, 2013 |
Steiner tells some very interesting stories about the rise of computer algorithms in this book, particularly in the financial and call center industries. While occasionally a bit depressing, he ends on a hopeful note by discussing how the collapse of Wall Street has led to an influx of talent for Silicon Valley and other entrepreneurial hotspots. ( )
  wanack | Sep 6, 2012 |
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... the book spends the vast majority of its time on Wall Street’s algorithm obsession, while mostly providing eye-candy examples elsewhere that are then turned into horrific harbingers of mass unemployment. Steiner’s book could have used a true main character, and it should have given the algorithms the complexity and nuance they deserve.
 
The real question isn't whether to live with algorithms—the Sumerians got that much right—but how to live with them. As Vonnegut understood over a half-century ago, an uncritical embrace of automation, for all the efficiency that it offers, is just a prelude to dystopia.
 
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On a day in early 1987, a man who worked for the Nasdaq stock market -- let's call him Jones -- showed up in the lobby of the World Trade Center.
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The interaction of man and machine can make our lives easier. But what will the world look like when algorithms control our hospitals, our roads, our culture, and our national security? It used to be that to diagnose an illness, interpret legal documents, analyze foreign policy, or write a newspaper article you needed a human being with specific skills--and maybe an advanced degree or two. These days, high-level tasks are increasingly being handled by algorithms that can do precise work not only with speed but also with nuance. These "bots" started with human programming and logic, but now their reach extends beyond what their creators ever expected. In this frightening book, Christopher Steiner tells the story of how algorithms took over--and shows why the "bot revolution" is about to spill into every aspect of our lives, often silently, without our knowledge.--From publisher description.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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