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Book: Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard. Artificial UnIntelligence is well-written and provides an excellent introduction to the problems with artificial Intelligence focusing on its limits and biases. This book starts with a very brief history of computers, networks, and artificial Intelligence and provides some fundamental examples of programming and machine learning; the book is written for a general audience, not for those working in tech. (The book won the Hacker Prize by the Society for the History of Technology and the 2019 PROSE Award for the best book in computing & information sciences by the Association of American Publishers.) However, for those working in tech, Broussard offers an excellent critique of the techno-utopianism view that dominates in our major technology companies. I highly recommend for those wanting to understand AI and its limits, especially non-techies. Probably would not recommend if you are familiar with most of these topics.
Book: Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras. Amazon Link. Glow Kids is a well-written book about the effects of screens on kids and teenagers, from video games and so-called educational games to social media and online porn. Well documented with lots of cases and references to current research, this book examines the causes of screen addiction from the perspective of a professional psychologist who specializes in treating digital addiction.
Just like cocaine and other drugs, some proportion of the population is highly susceptible to online addiction. Many of our online experiences are designed to deliver a dopamine release to encourage addictive behavior. Think of the infinite scrolling common to social media. The effect of this constant stimulation is not good, and the research points to a hazardous impact on the brains of children and teens whose brains are still developing.
"Our brains are simply not designed for the visual hyperstimulation with which recently developed digital technology bombards us." -Page 18
One of the things that I re-discovered in this book (I forgot things!) was how many Technologists limit the time that their kids spend on on-screen.
"..ironically, the most tech-cautious parents are the people who invented our iCulture. People are shocked to find out that tech god Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent; in 2010, when a reporter suggested that his children must love their just-released iPad, he replied: "They haven't used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home."-Page 31
I highly recommend this book, especially for those with young children or who are planning on having some! The author's style of writing might not appeal to everyone. He is sometimes too wordy, for example, taking time to tell you whenever he intends for something to be a pun or not to be a pun, but the book also has lots of great examples and stories that help bring you along.
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