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William Meisel

Tarzana, CA USA | Member Since 2011

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  • The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Brian Christian
    • Narrated By Brian Christian
    Overall
    (304)
    Performance
    (192)
    Story
    (185)

    The Most Human Human is a provocative, exuberant, and profound exploration of the ways in which computers are reshaping our ideas of what it means to be human. Its starting point is the annual Turing Test, which pits artificial intelligence programs against people to determine if computers can "think". Named for computer pioneer Alan Turing, the Turing Test convenes a panel of judges who pose questions - ranging anywhere from celebrity gossip to moral conundrums - to hidden contestants in an attempt to discern which is human and which is a computer.

    Roy says: "A Wedding of Computer Science and Philosophy"
    "More than the title suggests"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Depends on the friend's interests. This book is entertaining, but also thought-provoking.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    This is really a philosophy book with the theme of the Turing competition between humans and computers to appear human as a theme to create some suspense. The thought and research that the author put into what makes us human, and the nature of human discourse is fascinating, but the Turing test is almost a distraction. (I must admit a prejudice. I think the idea of computers emulating humans is a waste of time and discussion, and not a valid direction for research. I published Computer Oriented Approaches to Pattern Recognition in 1972 and The Software Society this month that goes into this further.)

    Christian's ideas, independent of the Turing test theme, are interesting and thought-provoking. They are well-written and enthusiastically presented in audio form. It seems today that we must come up with titles that grab a potential readers attention, but a title like "What it means to be a human" describes his focus better. Too bad that more readers aren't simply interested in philosophy and ideas.


    What about Brian Christian’s performance did you like?

    It seemed like a personal message.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No one moment I can cite, but the discussion of how we converse, with its subtleties and meaningful pauses, is a subject that I found persuasive and haven't seen elsewhere in general reader sources.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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