We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Most Human Human Audiobook

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

Regular Price:$28.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

More from the same

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (442 )
5 star
 (185)
4 star
 (159)
3 star
 (75)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.2 (298 )
5 star
 (125)
4 star
 (116)
3 star
 (42)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.1 (301 )
5 star
 (114)
4 star
 (127)
3 star
 (45)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 02-07-13
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 02-07-13 Member Since 2007

    The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history

    HELPFUL VOTES
    976
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    253
    211
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    69
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How do you know a human wrote this review?"
    Any additional comments?

    This book really knocked my socks off. Under the guise of telling about his experience as a human competitor in an annual contest to see if computers can fool humans in a text-off, the author covers the evolution of chat-bots, but also dozens of other topics. Page after page dealt with concepts I had never given any thought to, but which were fascinating. Such as: did you know that competitive checkers basically died in the late 1800s when the two top players in the world played the exact same “perfect” game dozens of times in a row? And that the same thing is happening to competitive chess right now? How does your smart phone know what you are going to type before you type it? Do you think all those helpful chatters who appear in popup windows to “answer your questions” while you are shopping on the Internet are real human beings? What is the algorithm for knowing when to interrupt someone in a conversation? All this and much, much more awaits you in this outstanding blend of hard science, philosophy, linguistics and the-future-is-now computer facts. The author does a decent job of narrating his own book, but I believe a professional narrator would have given more life to the performance.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer AUSTIN, TX, United States 05-07-11
    Amazon Customer AUSTIN, TX, United States 05-07-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Quirky, poetic, definitely enjoyable"

    I feel a bit guilty only giving this four stars (not five), but I have to make it consistent with my grading scale. This book is unquestionably enjoyable. It is definitely a refreshing perspective, a very thoughtful exploration. Startlingly poetic.

    But, not particularly "meaty", in my opinion. That is, it doesn't delve into computer science - it's mostly anecdotal in its narrative. Nevertheless, highly entertaining.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    "Cloe" Kam 01-12-17
    "Cloe" Kam 01-12-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
    Overall
    "Best in Class"

    The most human audiobook... Really interesting for nerds. Disclaimer: non-intellectuals may want to skip it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alex 01-07-17
    alex 01-07-17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Love his books! for the analytical thinker"

    Brian is a master illuminator of the complexities in our daily lives and ties in metaphors from digital computing in ways that has taught me so much about myself and the way I think. his deep insight about his mind simplified much of the anxieties about overly-analyzing everything.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    koroslak 07-29-16
    koroslak 07-29-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's a must read ( listen) book."

    I like how it makes me question everything 'human ' about me, my mind, conversations etc.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Flockhart 02-18-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Super interesting"

    I really enjoyed this book, and learned a lot at the same time. It's not like a textbook with unbiased, plain facts, it's put into the context of humanity with many interesting anecdotes.

    While I never found myself bored, or not smart enough to understand, I found his tangents that turned into full chapters slightly annoying. While he's in the middle of one thing, he branches off into a side note, or anecdote, and that's fun, but they occasionally drag on for 45 minutes and you completely lose sight of the original message.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Dillon 10-28-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"

    This book was well researched, wide ranging, well organized, full of new ways to draw conclusions and make connections, and utterly fascinating. I am a computer scientist and mathematician and I love to see how theories and algorithms apply across genres - art, compression, literature, entropy, text games, chess, and of course The Turing Test. I am definitely left with a greater sense of what humanity is, and what it is not, and I feel inspired to become a more human human.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 04-07-15
    Mike 04-07-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    78
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wide-Ranging Yet Highly Cohesive"

    Super fun read touching on psychology, mathematics, history, etc, with some funny anecdotes to boot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Bischel San Jose, CA 11-06-14
    T. Bischel San Jose, CA 11-06-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "wandering speculation on what makes humans human"
    What did you like best about The Most Human Human? What did you like least?

    I come from more of a technical background in regards to AI, and found a more philosophical treatise on man vs machine refreshing. Many of my personal interests (computer chess, neural networks, the singularity, speculation on the soul) crossed here, which was thoroughly enjoyable. I did find some of the conclusions to be a bit self aggrandizing of the liberal arts, which unfortunately tainted my views on many of his arguments.


    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    The writer is extremely precise with his choice in language, which is not surprising given his background in poetry, and his philosophical arguments were well laid out. From a technical perspective, this book targets a more lay audience, and thus was not difficult to follow.


    Did Brian Christian do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    It wasn't a book that really had characters other than the author himself.


    Any additional comments?

    It read a little slow at times, and tended to drift towards the end. It was interesting, but not a page turner by any means.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 08-19-14
    Jennifer 08-19-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    178
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    492
    137
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not just about AI"

    Awesome read. Not just about AI (though you can pick up lots if computer science jargon), but about language, philosophy, life... Lots of interesting discussions, though I'm slightly disappointed that in the end he merely related the results of the Turing test, and offered no transcript. I think it would have been fun, after learning about the strengths and weaknesses about programming bots and characteristics of computer vs human conversations, to read and see for ourselves if we could judge or pick up on nuances that help distinguish a bot's response from a human's. Left me with an optimistic kind of feeling though, like I want to go out and absorb reality in its fullest and live as unique, un-anonymous and "incompressible" a life as I can.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.