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Automate This Audiobook

Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World

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Publisher's Summary

The rousing story of the last gasp of human agency and how today’s best and brightest minds are endeavoring to put an end to it.

It used to be that to diagnose an illness, interpret legal documents, analyze foreign policy, or write a newspaper article you needed a human being with specific skills - and maybe an advanced degree or two. These days, high-level tasks are increasingly being handled by algorithms that can do precise work not only with speed but also with nuance. These "bots" started with human programming and logic, but now their reach extends beyond what their creators ever expected.

In this fascinating, frightening audiobook, Christopher Steiner tells the story of how algorithms took over - and shows why the "bot revolution" is about to spill into every aspect of our lives, often silently, without our knowledge. The May 2010 "Flash Crash" exposed Wall Street’s reliance on trading bots to the tune of a 998-point market drop and $1 trillion in vanished market value. But that was just the beginning. In Automate This, we meet bots that drive cars, pen haikus, and write music mistaken for Bach’s. They listen in on our customer service calls and figure out what Iran would do in the event of a nuclear standoff. There are algorithms that can pick out the most cohesive crew of astronauts for a space mission or identify the next Jeremy Lin. Some can even ingest statistics from baseball games and spit out pitch-perfect sports journalism indistinguishable from that produced by humans.

The interaction of man and machine can make our lives easier. But what will the world look like when algorithms control our hospitals, our roads, our culture, and our national security? What happens to businesses when we automate judgment and eliminate human instinct? And what role will be left for doctors, lawyers, writers, truck drivers, and many others? Who knows - maybe there’s a bot learning to do your job right this minute.

©2012 Christopher Steiner (P)2012 Gildan Media LLC

What the Critics Say

"Algorithms are affecting every field of human endeavor, from markets to medicine, poker to pop music. Listen to this audiobook if you want to understand the most powerful force shaping the world today and tomorrow." (Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist, MIT; coauthor of Race Against the Machine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1282 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-08-16 Member Since 2016
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    "inspirational"

    very good insights very relevant ...one really draws inspirations from most stories here the peterfy story relevant for enyone in finance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Rasch Palo Alto, USA 06-10-16
    S. Rasch Palo Alto, USA 06-10-16

    Rationalist, economist and transhumanist, interested in tech, science and entrepreneurship. Works in politics.

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    "Interesting, but no algorithms"

    Lots of good stories. A bit obsolete. Interesting about ycombinator. But few actual algorithms to learn from.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Ann Arbor, MI, United States 05-26-16
    Philip Ann Arbor, MI, United States 05-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    "A wide but shallow non-technical pop science"

    This is a wide but shallow non-technical pop science insight into many of the algorithms that automate our world. It is interesting to the uninvolved people, perhaps inspiring to some, and a waste of time to those who know a thing or two about the areas discussed in this book. The narrator is clear but sounds like a dumb computer algorithm himself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Biney 04-03-16
    K. Biney 04-03-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Insightful"

    This book is an excellent primer if you want to understand the past and future of algorithms and why it matters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rommel 03-30-16
    rommel 03-30-16
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    "Educational"

    I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a summary of algorithms and their application in many different fields.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew FAIR OAKS, CA, United States 01-27-16
    Andrew FAIR OAKS, CA, United States 01-27-16 Member Since 2009

    I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.

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    "This book really got me thinking."
    Any additional comments?

    This book really got me interested in Artificial Intelligence and what it can do for society. Highly recommended for anyone interested in computer science.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha FAIRFIELD, IA, US 01-21-16
    Samantha FAIRFIELD, IA, US 01-21-16 Member Since 2012
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    "Must read."

    Very informative and well researched. Accessible to both technical and non-technical audience. A good overview of where we are heading technologically speaking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CR Frisco, TX 01-01-16
    CR Frisco, TX 01-01-16 Member Since 2002

    I listen to a variety of audio books constantly in car and gym. My reviews remind me what I’ve read & are hopefully helpful to you as well.

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    "Interesting use cases provide insight into subject"

    This is not highly technical and doesn't explain any "how to's", but it does provide the reader with a perspective and introductory information to discover how automation is - and will continue to - impact our lives (favorably or not).

    Book covers topics of wall street high-frequency trading and other money-making algorithms, music industry, gambling, medical diagnosis, selecting staff for certain jobs (astronauts, for example), and telemarketing.

    Good enough to recommend if you are looking to learn a little something, but not for those looking for more that just a glimpse into the use and possibilities of automation/algorithms.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne USA 12-06-15
    Anne USA 12-06-15
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    "Interesting and engaging"
    What did you love best about Automate This?

    I don't finish most audible books since I lose interest or feel like I already know everything they are saying. This one kept my attention to the end. I am a computer engineer, so it is interesting for the technical audience. All the concepts are explained clearly in story format, so it would be understandable for all audiences.


    What other book might you compare Automate This to and why?

    The only other audio book that has kept my attention the whole way through recently is "Makers: The New Industrial Revolution"


    Any additional comments?

    This book tells interesting stories of examples where algorithms are being used for business and every day life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan 11-28-15
    Allan 11-28-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Good overview of changes to how the world works"

    Great book. Starts off with strong Wall Street focus and then goes broader. Good look at links between human brains and software and big data. I listened at 3 x speed and narration was fine and clear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Alev Haddadieh
    United Kingdom
    4/26/16
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    "fascinating book.."

    Developments and the application of the algorithmsn in the last 10 to 15 years have been fascinating..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jamie
    Nottingham, United Kingdom
    12/8/13
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    Performance
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    "A terrific history of how automation impacts"
    Would you listen to Automate This again? Why?

    Probably not ... definitely a good listen and a fascinating perspective of how technology has been at the forefront of stock markets (primary focus book) and the battles and struggles to contain this genie

    Also slightly terrifying into how simple mistakes can bring down our global society


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not a character book as such


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gary
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    10/22/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Software, Quant or Algorithmic Engineers are smart"
    If you could sum up Automate This in three words, what would they be?

    Opportunities Software-Engineering Smart


    What other book might you compare Automate This to, and why?

    Wall Street meets Steve Jobs (Apple Story); clever people spotting opportunities and have the problems solving skills to progress them let alone the technical skills to do it themselves PLUS the ability to ignore / step around people saying NO (it can't be done)


    Which character – as performed by Walter Dixon – was your favourite?

    Thomas Peterffy


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Smile, a lot.


    Any additional comments?

    Very useful in my line of work given that I work with numerous PHD data scientists and mathematicians. Not I know what the heck they are talking about. :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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