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Hello World

How to Be Human in the Age of the Machine
Narrated by: Hannah Fry
Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.38

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Hello World by Hannah Fry. 

You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather determined your fate - a human or an algorithm?

An algorithm is more consistent and less prone to error of judgment. Yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence. 

You need a liver transplant to save your life. Who would you want in charge of organ allocation?

An algorithm can match organ donors with patients, potentially saving many more lives. But it may send you to the back of the queue. 

You’re buying a (driverless) car. One vehicle is programmed to save as many lives as possible in a collision. Another promises to prioritise the lives of its passengers. Which do you choose? 

Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not-too-distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions - in health care, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go, even whom we send to prison. So how much should we rely on them? What kind of future do we want?

Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they are replacing.

©2018 Hannah Fry (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Wise, sharp and witty, the definitive guide to living in the age of social media, algorithms and automation.'' (Adam Rutherford)  

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  • RynGibbs
  • Wahroonga, NSW, Australia
  • 09-05-2019

interesting book read by the author

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to Hannah Fry reading her book. The content was thought provoking and accessible. I also learned a lot about algorithms.

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Engaging, Insightful and a Little Bit Terrifying

Hello World is a masterpiece that tells the stories of the many algorithms and neural networks that work behind the scenes in our day to day lives. While most of these machines are created with good intentions, learning the extent of their knowledge and their capacity for error is often a sobering experience.

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  • Claire J
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 31-01-2019

Love Hannah Fry!

I love Hannah Fry and the book didn't disappoint. An interesting walk through the pros and cons of algorithms in different applications. super interesting and pitched just right for any level of expertise.

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Great for Math nerds

Easy listening and narrated with the emotion that is warranted for some of the heavier themes.

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  • Justus
  • 14-09-2018

A very well balanced and informative view

The impact of computing on society, equally showing pros and cons. Compelling, informative and scientific.

As opposed to many other publications under this topic this book provides a balanced view of what "algorithms" do to society. Often this topic is tackled by die-hard proponents, promising paradise on earth by means of intelligent machines or fear mongering opponents, predicting our extinction by a rogue AI.
This book instead offers facts. Real world examples if what algorithms can do and cases in which they failed, in addition to scientific studies and papers outlining just what exactly algorithms are capable of and what they will never achieve.

Hannah beautifully manages to convey complex topics such as Bayesian probability in simple words and keep the listener engaged whilst ensuring what is said is precise and scientifically sound.

In a old where it feels as though everything must be black and white, one is either for it or against it, it is especially valuable for a book to be so balanced and "Grey" in the best way.

I personally think this is a must read. For everyone. Algorithms interact with everyone and it's only going to increase in the future. Particularly those people unfamiliar with the workings and limitations of computers will find a highly accurate and easy to understand outline of algorithmic capabilities in this book.

It was so worth it to renew my audible subscription to get this book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • James Kant
  • 05-09-2018

Great read

What an interesting and eye-opening audiobook. I deeply enjoyed this book, highly recommend to anybody as it is very easy to follow with great explanations.

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  • Daniel O'Connor
  • 13-12-2018

Fascinating, thought-provoking and terrifying 😨

Always been a fan since the early days of Radio 4's "Curious Cases" and had been looking forward to this.

It's really good. Educational and makes you think, and the section describing how China uses social media is *literally* something out of Black Mirror.

I see it as a companion piece to Yuval Noah Harari's "Homo Deus". Dr. Fry talks about the science, Harari discusses the consequences. Both are excellent.

And plus, listening to the Audible version means you get Hannah Fry's Lauren-Bacall-if-she-came-from-Essex voice breathing at you for several hours. Which is nice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-08-2018

Just brilliant

I have always appreciated the work of Hannah Fry since I first heard of her, but this book was more than anything I could have asked for. It’s a book full of tons of little story’s I will be repeating to my friends (only if I haven’t already made them buy themselves).

Undoubtedly worth using my audible free trial for this. If I had to sum it up in a phrase: MIND EXPANDING. And her voice is amazing. This book will give you something to say at every family dinner for the next year or so. Well done Hannah! :)

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul Hinds
  • 23-08-2018

Wow! What a great listen

I was really looking forward to this book being released and I wasn’t disappointed.

I have read a lot of books already about ‘big data’, artificial intelligence and algorithms, but the difference with Dr Fry’s work is that it weaves in human stories alongside the description of the technology. Many of the examples given in the book are well established, such as Deep Blue beating Gary Kasparov at chess, but the book discusses as much about Kasparov’s emotional response to Deep Blue’s strategy as much as the algorithm behind it. This really brings home the idea that the future of this technology is as much about the human condition as it is about the technology itself.

This book has something for everyone irrespective of whether you are looking for an introduction to the subject or already have a good understanding. The narration is excellent and the book flows so easily that I ended up listening to the whole thing in one day.

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  • Perry
  • 18-07-2019

fascinating and what a voice!

if you are craving to audibly feed your inner nerd then welcome to paradise. fascinating investigations beautifully written and explained for the lay person and read by an author whose voice is truly the most gorgeous I have ever heard. forget Jenny Agiter or Emma Thompson, Hannah Fry's voice is something else.
I have loved the Rutherford and Fry Radio show for a while. To have Hannah in my car giving me the nerdiest fact filled overview is everything my inner geek has ever asked for.
thank you. please read more!

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  • stryder
  • 10-06-2019

Brilliant overview for the layperson

Fantastically written and read by the author, making a potentially dull subject interesting and accessible. (Do wish the default audio level was higher as I found myself having to turn up car audio a louder than I normally do with audiobooks.)

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  • Dean Barnard
  • 29-05-2019

Thought provoking

This is a great listen. Very well written (and read), so really easy to understand.

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  • Marcus
  • 28-04-2019

Thoroughly enjoyable and insightful

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are all around us and on the rise. The future of work, security, transport, health, policing and the broader impact on society, the rights of citizens are all explored with case studies and examples of what can go wrong. Hannah Fry challenges us to develop and use these technologies responsibly and warns against the abuse or headlong rush to implement them without questioning, without safeguarding and without considering the moral and ethical implications.

I suspect this book is already too late as Pandora's box has been open for quite some time. If Ray Kurzweil is to be believed (86% prediction rate accuracy) and by 2045 we're all pretty much doomed.

That said, my conclusions from this and other thinkers on the subject are that where human and machine work together, we can produce some incredible outcomes. It throws up some fascinating and important questions about the ethics and legal implications of hybrid people/systems but time is not on our side given the pace of change and the speed at which machines are able to learn, relentlessly.

Once we get chipped and become a hybrid organic/machine species how will the gap between rich and poor widen? Will we be smart enough to protect ourselves from the worst excesses of human greed and selfish self-interest? Sadly, based on our historical patterns of behaviour, I doubt it but i am an old curmudgeon.

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  • Ewan Blackledge
  • 21-04-2019

Brilliant intro to the impact of AI on our lives

This is a great primer on the benefits and issues of AI for those from non-technical backgrounds.

As a beginner data scientist it was fascinating to get an understanding of some of the developments at the frontier of the field (and programming more broadly), and the issues facing further development.