Automate This: How Algorithms Took Over Our Markets, Our Jobs, and the World

How the rise of computerized decision-making impacts each facet of business and every day life

The bot takeover started with high frequency buying and selling on Wall Street, and from there it spread to all manners of high-level tasks—for e.g. diagnosing illnesses or deciphering legal documents. There isn’t any realm of human endeavor safe from algorithms that employ speed, precision and nuance.

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In this fascinating audiobook, the author Chris Steiner tells the story of how algorithms took over and reveals why the “bot revolution” is about to spill into every facet of our lives. We meet bots which are driving vehicles, penning poems, and writing music mistaken for Bach’s. They listen in on customer support calls and work out what Iran would do in the event of a nuclear standoff. On Wall Street, pre-programmed algorithmic deals are executed by machines quicker than any human could—leaving human traders at a severe disadvantage.

However what will the world appear like when algorithms manage our roads, our hospitals, and our national security? Is a stock market controlled by high-velocity trading bots worth investing in? And what function will likely be left for writers, doctors, attorneys, truck drivers, and many others?

1 review for Automate This: How Algorithms Took Over Our Markets, Our Jobs, and the World

  1. The Librarian

    The Arab Spring of 2011 didn’t shock analyst Bueno de Mesquita, who in May 2010 predicted that Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak would fall within 12 months—basing his prediction on the workings of an algorithm. As readers follow Steiner in his whirlwind tour of algorithm applications, they’ll marvel on the versatility of a mathematical tool understood only by a small circle of specialists. Readers peer over the experts’ shoulders long enough to trace the decision-tree logic of an individual algorithm and to observe the cascading dynamics of the linked algorithms that drive the “bots” now dealing with everything from placing astronauts into space to matching suitable personalities venturing into the dating scene. Steiner acknowledges that a world reliant on bots should deal with new challenges—flash crashes on Wall Street, unemployment among accountants, dangerously powerful technocrats. Still, Steiner stays hopeful that resourceful computer whizzes will weave algorithms that may enrich and safeguard our future. An accessible foray into computer programming that has turn into a hidden but pervasive presence.

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