Algorithms that shape our world

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms


Published: 3/28/2019

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 1784163066

Hello World is a book written by Hannah Fry about computer algorithms that are used for all kinds of purposes such as:

* Determining a sentence in  a criminal case.
* Predicting the where and when of certain crimes.
* Make the right offer to persuade customers buy more stuff.
* Detecting dangerous tumors.
* To convince people to vote for a specific party or politician.

In Hello World, Hannah Fry explains the pros, cons and dangers of computer algorithms. People should not just put their fate on the results of the algorithm. They should always keep thinking for themselves.


The chapters of the book:


This chapter explains how algorithms and artificial intelligence work. We should not blindly accept the results. It is often not clear how an algorithm was created and whether the assumptions are correct on which the algorithm is based.


Large (internet) companies collect as much information about you so that they know your likes and habits. This information is sold to the highest bidder for the purpose of influencing your shopping and voting habits.


A judge is also human and is not always consistent in the punishment that he passes. That is why it’s helpful to have an algorithm to help the judge.


What can an algorithm mean for medicine? Algorithms are very good at recognizing patterns. A computer algorithm can look at thousands of samples. It can sort out the ones that are cause for concern. A doctor or pathologist only needs to look at the exceptions. Which saves a lot of time and increases effectiveness. By comparing all kinds of different data, an algorithm can also make predictions about ailments that a person is going to develop later in life.


Everything about the self-driving car and the moral dilemmas that it entails. Kill the driver or kill the pedestrian? If driving becomes too automated, drivers no longer pay attention. They will intervene too late if things go wrong.


An algorithm can help the police predict crimes. There is, however, a risk that certain groups will be unjustly targeted by more severe penalties and will be more closely monitored. Moreover, it is not always clear how these algorithms are created.


Is it still art if it’s made by a computer, even if it is beautiful? And can an algorithm predict a blockbuster movie?

My verdict

Hello World is about a topic that is gradually changing the world and impacting our lives. The subject is clearly explained and easy to read without complicated technical terms. I recommend this book for everyone to read.

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