The Formula

The Formula

How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems ... and Create More

Book - 2014
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In The Formula, Luke Dormehl takes readers inside the world of numbers, asking how we came to believe in the all-conquering power of algorithms; introducing the mathematicians, artificial intelligence experts and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are shaping this brave new world, and ultimately asking how we survive in an era where numbers can sometimes seem to create as many problems as they solve.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Penguin Group (USA) LLC,, 2014
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780399170539
Branch Call Number: 518.1 D735f 2014
Characteristics: 278 pages ; 22 cm


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Apr 04, 2018

The author says that he will not discuss algorithms in a technical fashion and holds to his word. The first section discusses quantization, and clearly describes the departure of modern science from the Aristotelian models used until halfway through the current millennium. This section is the most valuable of the entire book. The second section spends (wastes) a lot of time on matchmaking programs – forget it. The third section should thrill sci-fi fans and futurists; its principal topic is legal issues. The fourth section treats the intrusion of algorithms into the arts, including music, movies, and painting (with Jackson Pollock as a model). But the “Conclusion: Predicting the Future,” is the scary part of the book. It was difficult to read without thinking of the singularity fears of many AI detractors.

Feb 07, 2015

This is a nifty little book, filled with many interesting facts and insights, where the author, in a subtle fashion, demonstrates the built-in censorship and potential for censorship [Twitter, et cetera], along with interesting thoughts on social media. [Recently reported that Facebook is working on photo-ID perfection, and soon anyone can be id'd with any photo of themselves. Food for thought.] Very well balanced book, as I can't stand the mention of Posner or Sunstein, but followed with opposite insights.


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