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Outnumbered

Exploring the Algorithms That Control Our Lives
Narrated by: David West
Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Our increasing reliance on technology and the Internet has opened a window for mathematicians and data researchers to gaze through into our lives. Using the data they are constantly collecting about where we travel, where we shop, what we buy, what interests us, they can begin to predict our daily habits, and increasingly we are relinquishing our decision making to algorithms - are we giving up this up too easily? 

The media report daily on some new way our privacy is being violated, but without understanding what mathematics can and can't do it is impossible to get a handle on how it is changing our lives. 

Outnumbered is a journey to the dark side of mathematics, from how it dictates our social media activities to our travel routes. David Sumpter investigates whether mathematics is sucking the mystery out of life, making everything too predictable and crossing dangerous lines when it comes to what we can make decisions about. 

This book shows how maths impacts all parts of our lives: from the algorithms that decide whom we interact with to the statistical methods that categorise us as potential criminals. It tests financial algorithms that purport to generate money from nothing and reveals that we are constantly manipulated by the maths used by others, from algorithms choosing the news we hear to automated hospital waiting lists deciding whether we receive treatment. 

Using interviews with those people working at the cutting edge of mathematical research, Outnumbered explains how maths and stats work in the real world and what we should and shouldn't worry about. 

©2018 David Sumpter (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good reality check for "Cambridge Hyperbolitica"

I got this book after reading a lot about Cambridge Analytica, when I got interested in how the magic happened. Apparently, not a lot of magic happened, just a lot of hyperbole and exaggerations.

But that's not all this book is about. From the way Facebook targets us with ads, to Amazon's (and Audible's) algorithms for suggesting what we should buy, to the vast distance from us to true AI - this is a very good book to give you a reality check for what's real and what's just news reporters exaggerating for the sake of clickbait.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Henry
  • 05-09-19

Easy listening for a complex subject

I have read David's previous book and loved it, decided to listen to this one. Love it. David's writing is easy to understand and fun for topics that can be confusing and complex. The narration can sometimes feel a bit robotic, but if anything that works for the subject matter at times. You're only going to like this book if it is a subject that interests you, but if it does then I would recommend.

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  • BOB
  • 03-20-19

Fantastic, enthralling and scary

Really made me think about myself, my internet browsing, AI and data. Complicated subject but broken down into easy to understand real work examples. I’m off to get his Soccermatics now

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  • P W.
  • 08-14-18

Rigourous but exceedingly readable analysis

A thoroughly absorbing read, with rather different conclusions from what most will be expecting. His examples are very mathematically accessible. Highly recommended to: any mathematician or teacher; any politics student; anyone whose work is potentially impacted by bots or algorithms.

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  • James
  • 06-01-18

Did I choose this book or did the algorithms?

Either way, I'm happy I (or the algorithm) chose this book. It was great to get a more scientific and fact check version of the world around us outside of main stream media.

I absolutely loved the enthusiasm the author has for the online world and it's ability to make our lives easier and help us build a global network of connections. A great balance of personal and fact, a book that can open your eyes to the fact that Alexa/Siri may tell you what to buy next but they are a long way away from loading the dishwasher.

I wonder if the AI version of the book will be released?