Essentially, Hannah Fry takes us through where algorithms already exist and how they are currently affecting our lives. She takes on a ride through areas like crime, policing, cars, health and art, highlighting the benefits but also the risks.
In this book, Ezra Klein sets out his analysis for why the US political system has become polarised. It’s well crafted and persuasive, using a raft of political, psychological and historical evidence to put weight behind his argument.
The main argument is that we no longer have a debate about what ‘value’ means in the economy. Because of this, the economy has slowly started to become rent-seeking, maximising extracting wealth from people and companies, rather than making longterm investments.
It’s not a chronological history, but tells stories about particular fights in the UK to advance the rights of women. I even knew some of the stories as they intersected with my PhD (like Marie Stopes being…eccentric).
The Sarawak Report is the book version of the blog, by Clare Rewcastle Brown. Starting it’s life out as a blog detailing the pillaging of the Borneo rainforest by a a corrupt Malaysian politician, it turns into the investigation of its Prime Minister who was involved in the 1MDB scandal.
n general, the book is about the different kinds of behaviour in different cultures, and how this can cause frustration if you don’t realise it. Things like how people like to approach meetings, or how people develop trust, or even how they like to receive feedback.
ut Spam Nation is more of a fun mystery novel as it’s mostly a story about two rival spammers, who probably do as much to undermine their industry (for lack of a better word) as they did to start it.
Superior is an examination of scientific racism, talking to scientists, anthropologists, historians and a whole host of other people. It also talks to some obvious racists, which is kind of fascinating in itself.
Future Crimes is a very detailed book, looking at all various ways that technology can be exploited for nefarious purposes. It’s a really good read, though it leaves you with a lingering paranoia about every device in your home. After the chapter on IoT (internet of things) devices, I googled whether our robot vacuum had a vulnerability (it did).
Astounding is a history of the golden age of science fiction, specifically focussed on John W. Campbell Jr., L. Ron Hubbard, Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. And it is quite frankly, bloody brilliant.