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. The machine that most often fools the panel wins the Most Human Computer Award. But there is also a prize, bizarre and intriguing, for the Most Human Human.
In 2008, the top AI program came short of passing the Turing Test by just one astonishing vote. In 2009, Brian Christian was chosen to participate, and he set out to make sure Homo sapiens would prevail.
The author’s quest to be deemed more human than a computer opens a window onto our own nature. Interweaving modern phenomena like customer service “chatbots” and men using programmed dialogue to pick up women in bars with insights from fields as diverse as chess, psychiatry, and the law, Brian Christian examines the philosophical, biological, and moral issues raised by the Turing Test.
One central definition of human has been a "being that could reason". If computers can reason, what does that mean for the special place we reserve for humanity?
©2011 Brian Christian (P)2011 Random House Audio
"This book will surely change the way readers think about their conversations." (Booklist)
"A heady exploration of the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and human nature. Christian's examination of the way machines are forcing us to appreciate what it means to be human leads him to explore everything from poetry, chess and existentialism…[and] offers an overview of the history of AI." (Kirkus Reviews)
"This is a strange, fertile, and sometimes beautiful book. It has been said that man creates images of himself, then comes to resemble the images. Something like this seems to be going on with the computer. Brian Christian writes with a rare combination of what Pascal took to be two contrary mindsets: the spirit of geometry and the spirit of finesse. He takes both the deep limitations and halting progress of artificial intelligence as an occasion for thinking about the most human activity - the art of conversation." (Matthew B. Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft)
Probably... someday. The book touches on many different areas - all of which go into what it is to be human - many areas where one's own humanity could be considered sorely lacking. I also hope and expect to read the sequel, as I expect that the Turing contest is only going to get more interesting as time goes on.
Not sure. I will say that my very next audible.com purchase was "The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human" by Jonathon Gottschall. Narrated by Kris Koscheski.
It is a must read for any computer savy person. Funny but it made me think. What are the limits of computers? What the substance of human and how it could be evaluated via quick interview?
Hi. My name is Mann & I am an Enterprise Communications expert by profession. I have always loved reading books and primarily enjoy books on Finance, Science & Technology and History. I do hear an occasional Fictional book though I prefer to read them instead.
Definitely. The book specially gains momentum in the second half with some extremely thought provoking essays and insights into the realm of artificial intelligence and what computing holds for us in future.
Information. Though I prefer The Most Human Human more than information. This book is about a human struggle to define his humanity against computing. Its more philosophical in nature too.
I loved his intonation and pauses. His grasp over the subject matter seemed complete. He navigated the complex terrain of computer science with remarkable poise.
The Most Human Human.
A great read of people involved with technology. This book offers some beautiful essays into the nature of technology and how AI may unfold in future. But yeah, it is a little slow in the beginning but gain momentum in the second half.
Easily among the best!
This book made me revisit the philosophical question,
I loved the mix of science and anecdote in this book. As a software engineer with an interest in all areas of science, I found the meditations on what it means to be human and whether machines could ever qualify for the title fascinating. I think the book would appeal to a broad range of people. It is written in a really accessible fashion. The narration is also excellent.
I really liked the story behind the title for the book
This book builds some great insights into both humanity and and computer science. i would defiantly recommend it to anyone with technical interests
I dont think i have read much that goes along these lines, but it looks like there is plenty out there
animated and articulate but at times a little unclear
i think this book says quite a lot for its length compared with many other books, defiantly worthwhile...
Although I thought this book would go into more depth about AI, the philosophical questions about what it means to be human and conscious that Brian Christian brings up were quite interesting and thought-provoking. I started to get a little lost in the final chapters, but overall, this was an enjoyable listen.
Business owner , philanthropist.
My only snag with it is it pretty much contains the same information that a whole lot of other books written my journalist write. If your looking for this kind of concepts read something by malcolm Gladwell. If you like a good story and and have already gone through the other journalists this is worth the listen.
This book is claimed to be "an examination of the way machines are forcing us to appreciate what it means to be human, and Brian Christian examines the philosophical, biological, and moral issues raised by the Turing Test." Well, in my opinion, not really, on both accounts. Although personal remembrances on having taken the Turing Test and other anecdotes is worth a read, Christian's sophomoric attempt at examining the philosophical and moral issues of AI and on the question of whether AI can ever be sentient, let alone human-like, goes no where intellectually, and one is left with the untenable opinion, by default, that the answer to that question is positive -- just not yet. The main philosophic/cognitive-scientific point on language for humans is that a word represents a concept, not just a way to communicate, whereas to a machine, a word cannot represent a concept -- that a machine can communicate but cannot form a concept, and yet the mythology of the coming of the sentient AI remains solid for the faithful. Brian Christian's book is like a "fair and balanced" story on Roman Catholicism from a priest where the Church is Computer Science and the priest is a computer geek.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.