Meredith Broussard argues that our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in many poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally that we have stopped demanding that our technology actually work. She offers a guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology — and issues a warning that we should never assume computers always get things right. She makes a strong case against “technochauvinism” — the belief that technology is always the solution. To prove her point, Broussard 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 tries 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. A fun and insightful read.
Broussard, M. (2019). Artificial unintelligence: How computers misunderstand the world. Boston: MIT Press.
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