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Extended Audio Sample Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World Audiobook, by Christopher Steiner Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (296 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christopher Steiner Narrator: Walter Dixon Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9781469085425
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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 are driving cars, penning haiku, and writing 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 this very minute.

Download and start listening now!

amtz

Quotes & Awards

  • 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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 J.W. Nugent | 2/18/2014

    " Automate this is an eye opening account of the power in the application of Algorithms in technology today. The extension of control through this mathematical function is amazing. The future is both exciting and terribly problematic when one considers the ethical problem faced today. The exponential growth in use will be equivalent to the promulgation of personal computers. Expanding technology will actually shorten the half life evolution of Algorithmic proliferation and for good or bad change the world as we know it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cory | 2/16/2014

    " Just a cursory look at how algorithms are in play in today's life. Not really much substance or in-depth coverage. Not worth a read in my opinion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 2/14/2014

    " Automate This provides a great overview of how computing and algorithms affect our lives. It's written at a level that's accessible to the non-technical person, so there are some subtle points that aren't quite right, but it's accurate enough that I would refer a non-technical family member to this book to better understand what back-end programming is about. For the non-technical, it's a good discussion of the role of non-UI computer programming in our lives. For the technical, it provides historical context for some fairly recent developments in automation. Written in an easy to read style with a mix of stories and facts (and lots of references and citations for the curious) Automate This is a great survey of the values and risks of automation in domains ranging from financial services to music. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Go.gentle | 2/4/2014

    " I liked the stories of people who had developed various algorithms, but overall I thought the book didn't hold together well and was a little too impressed with itself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bob | 1/21/2014

    " Okay. could of been shorter "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tyler | 1/20/2014

    " Very good read. Interesting how algorithms really do infect our lives. Would've liked a little more information on the creation of algorithms and what makes them different, but I still really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tomi Dufva | 1/17/2014

    " Very interesting book but the epilogue or conclusion somewhat strange. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Valerie | 1/17/2014

    " Weird combo of cheerleading and doomsday predicting. Not what I expected. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bosley | 1/4/2014

    " Fantastic primer and a great place to start for authors researching the topic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 11/25/2013

    " This book is a collection of fascinating stories about how algorithms are being used to automate industries such as finance (remember Lehman Brothers - LEH?), medicine, call centers, writing, and even music. What will bots do next? Lots to think about here. Great book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michel | 11/14/2013

    " Another very important book from 2012. Very entertaining and mind-boggling read. The picture painted for our future is both compelling and worrying. But like any game-changing technology, we decide in the end how we put it to use. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christian | 9/30/2013

    " I would describe the style as "breezy and breathless", I somehow got the sense I was reading the book at an airport, though I was nowhere near one. Interesting nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 9/1/2013

    " Quick read/listen. Good stuff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ahmed Chicktay | 8/31/2013

    " Interesting but a little long winded. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan Joshi | 5/24/2013

    " This is a great book, gives you insight into how programs can read and build teams, match up customers with similar minded sales people, tell the sales person what pitch to use - amazing insights, and a must read for anyone who wants to shape an organisation or team or launch a product "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 CJ | 12/3/2012

    " Quick, entertaining read about the general evolution of algorithms and its application from Wall Street to the concert hall. I especially enjoyed the section on the history of mathematics. It's NOT a technical book by any means, and a fun read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie Caldwell | 10/17/2012

    " Great book! A phenomenally interesting read that renders a difficult subject understandable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzie | 9/24/2012

    " Algorithms trade commodities, set odds, shape Pandora, pick hits, have price wars, improve customer service, and compose music. Also, an in depth discussion of the role of astronaut personality quizzes. If you're the kind of person who wants to know how things work, this is for you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keith | 9/17/2012

    " A must read for anyone that wants to better understand the application of algorithms to the world around us and how people have made massive amounts of money by doing so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 9/16/2012

    " Some chapters were boring, but some were enthralling, like the part about the computer that wrote classical music. Wow. Interesting stuff. The medical innovations cannot come soon enough in my opinion. "

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About the Author
Author Christopher Steiner

Christopher Steiner is the New York Times bestselling author of $20 Per Gallon, which was named a Best Book of the Year by both the Financial Times and Bloomberg. Formerly a writer for the Chicago Tribune, Steiner is now a civil engineer and a staff writer at Forbes who regularly reports on energy, technology, and innovative entrepreneurs.

About the Narrator

Walter Dixon is a broadcast media veteran of more than twenty years’ experience with a background in theater and performing arts and voice work for commercials. After a career in public radio, he is now a full-time narrator with more than fifty audiobooks recorded in genres ranging from religion and politics to children’s stories.