A Human Algorithm: How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining Who We Are

Counterpoint. Oct. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9781640092365. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781640092372. TECH
How do we define artificial intelligence (AI)? Is it emotional intelligence or purely factual knowledge? Coleman addresses these questions in this gripping, personal first book on the triumphs and dangers of technology. She explains that humans need first to evaluate our own ethics and abilities for empathy before expecting those values from AI. Through looking at the history of AI, in both its successes and bias (is it sexist that current “assistants” such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are female?), Coleman lays out a roadmap for the future of AI. With quotes and research from scientists, researchers, authors, and even poets, Coleman mixes her own viewpoints with those of scholars in this easy-to-read work. Readers of John C. Havens’s Heartificial Intelligence and Max Tegmark’s Life 3.0 will appreciate this new take on the relationship between humans and AI.
VERDICT While Coleman asks as many questions as she answers, this book changes the typical conversation from the effects that technology has on humans to the effects that humans (in their politics, faith, biases) have on technology. It’s a must read for both the cyber crowds and those interested in human psychology.

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