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Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All Hardcover – August 27, 2019
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“In Rage Inside the Machine, Rob Smith has written a fascinating hybrid text – a compelling memoir, a moving mosaic of history and technology, and, most important, the timeliest of warnings for our increasingly dangerous era of ubiquitous AI and algorithms … Read this book and take its carefully crafted message to heart.” ―David Goldberg, author of Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimization and Machine Learning
“In Rage Inside the Machine, Rob Smith accomplishes what few people could attempt: to humanize the discourse on artificial intelligence.” ―Chris Kutarna, co-author of Age of Discovery: Navigating the Storms of Our Second Renaissance
“Rob Smith humanises the dark and confused topic of AI and calls us to action. A beautiful, accessible and truly important book … I loved it.” ―Derren Brown, illusionist and author of Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine
“In an age when more and more decisions of our lives are made by algorithms, it's vital for anyone, not just techies, to understand how data can change our lives. Rob Smith has a unique ability to express the complicated future of AI in a very simple manner. Read it if you want to stay human.” ―Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina, Founder of Consciously Digital and author of Homo Distractus
“Rage Inside the Machine is a guide to how we got here, conceptually and historically. Rob Smith appreciates the successes of AI, but also warns that incomprehensibly complex data driven systems are not easily corrected, and can make major mistakes.” ―David Leinweber, author of Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets
“Rob Smith shines a light on the dangers of accepting a passive role in our relationship with tech. Essential reading for anyone wanting to know how to keep their sanity and humanity in the age of super-tech.” ―Helen Bagnall, Founder of Salon London
“Robert Smith's new book takes a subject that is intimidating for non-tech folk, and creates an accessible and riveting read. I found it so informative. It's opened my eye to the role algorithms play in the divisiveness of social media.” ―Tracy Ann Oberman, actor, writer and activist
“A sobering and inspiring read: not merely a puncturing of the tediously overinflated AI hype bubble - it's also a thrilling manifesto for what AI teaches us about real human cognition.” ―Cory Doctorow, author of 'Radicalized' and 'Walkaway', and co-founder of the Open Rights Group
“This is a vital addition to the debate on algorithmic decision-making, machine learning, and late-stage platform capitalism, and it's got important things to say about what makes us human, what our computers can do to enhance our lives, and how to have a critical discourse about algorithms that does not subordinate human ethics to statistical convenience.” ―Boing Boing
About the Author
Rob Smith authored over 35 journal articles, 10 book chapters, and over 75 conference papers on these subjects. He has conducted research projects for the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command, The Center for Nonlinear Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, NASA, Boeing, NSF, EPSRC, the European Union, DERA, British Aerospace, Airbus, and British Telecom. Rob is a former Associate Editor of The IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, and the journal Evolutionary Computation and a fellow of the RSA: The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
Currently, he works as Chief Technology Office for BOXARR Ltd, a company he helped to found. He also works part time as a Senior Research Fellow of Computer Science at University College London, where he was also a founding member of The UCL Centre for The Study of Decision-Making Uncertainty.
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Admittedly I think that the author view on the limits of current AI may not hold for many years to come. There may still come a paradigm shift that will enable closer-to-true-AI. But even so, as a description of the current state of affairs and what let to it, this book is brilliant.
There is a *fair* amount of math in the book, but not enough to be daunting, even though the author sometimes assumes a basic knowledge. The technical aspects are generally well explained, and novices should have little problem understanding the concepts that are set forth in the book.
I really enjoyed it, and I would urge the author to submit a brief summary to a popular magazine or newspaper to get the concept out into the public conversation.
We live in divided times and Dr. Smith’s book, “Rage Inside the Machine” gives insight to why. Backdrop with part memoir of the southern born author and this coming of age book for AI describes where we can all work to not be simply defined or manipulated by intolerant algorithms, newsfeeds, and social media of the day . . .
Original Cover Blurb for “Rage Inside the Machine”
When the crowd at ComicCon anticipates the “Rise of Our Artificially Intelligent Robot Overlords”, you can discount this as the opinions of a bunch of people with swords in Ewok suits.
When you hear that a crowd of world-class technologists and scientists, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Bill Joy and Stephen Hawking, worries very publicly that advanced AI and robotic technologies could pose an existential threat to humanity - trouble on the scale of climate change, bioplague and large asteroids - you really have to wonder what’s going on.
Rob’s book is a guide to how we got here, conceptually and historically. There are some impressive errors. Reading faces turns out to be more subtle than reading zip codes. Who knew? The growing wave of functional++ AI systems is leveraged by the persistence of Moore’s Law and learns its function from ever bigger and varied data.
“Rage Inside the Machine” appreciates the successes of AI, but does warn that incomprehensibly complex data driven systems are not easily corrected, and can make major mistakes.
Someday, our Robot Overlords will read this book. Hey guys, no offense, eh?
“Nerds on Wall Street: Math, Machines and Wired Markets” author
This is - luckily - not a technological book, though - due to the nature of its theme - it does have some statistical and mathematical aspects but those are fairly easy to follow thanks to to good explanations provided.
I think it contains essential information that all of us, internet-users would need to be aware of to avoid being mere pawns of the big tech-corps behind the scenes by only feeding their "big data" lakes.
I highly recommend it to any audience being interested in the topic. I work in IT and with data so possibly I could get some concepts easier but the historical background is as important as the technical (if not more) and I haven't read about that anywhere else. I really enjoyed the personal stories and I would have enjoyed reading a few more in the book :o)
Top international reviews
enjoyed this book. It combines personal anecdotes about the author's
own life and work with interesting historical discursions about
computation and calculation and very thoughtful up-to-date reflections
on artificial intelligence. For example, the book digs into the detail
of the famous Frey and Osborne paper that suggested that about 47
percent of US employment is at risk of computerisation before
long. Many commentators and politicians seem to have accepted this
uncritically, without (for example) analysing the methodology or
noticing that paper's unlikely claim that one of the occupations most
at risk of computerisation is that of fashion model. The book is
refreshingly critical about the abuse of language that afflicts
accounts of progress in AI, where terms such as intuition, meaning and
even information don't mean quite what you would think. If you want a
different, well-informed and entertainingly written meditation on
the directions and risks of artificial intelligence then this is the
book for you.
In this book Smith takes you on a rich journey of how we got to so blindly rely on algorithms. How we ended up in a world that pushes us to conform to algorithms, instead of the other way around. But more importantly he gives us the ammunition to demand and shape a different relation with technology.
Smith takes us through why AI is full of society threatening biasses and simplifications, and why we should build in diversity and randomness into algorithms instead of just trying to make our life as efficient as possible.
A must read if you work in IT or want a life where you are in control of technology, or why Google Maps keep on suggesting more of the same dime in a dozen boring cafes...