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Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. August 2012

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“[Steiner] excels in bringing a dry subject to life.”
Financial Times
"As readers follow Steiner in his whirlwind tour of algorithm applications, they will marvel at the versatility of a mathematical tool understood only by a small circle of experts. Readers peer over the experts’ shoulders long enough to trace the decision-tree logic of an individual algorithm and to follow the cascading dynamics of the linked algorithms that drive the “bots” now handling everything from putting astronauts into space to matching compatible personalities venturing into the dating scene…. An accessible foray into computer programming that has become a hidden but pervasive presence."
—Bryce Christensen, Booklist

“Algorithms are affecting every field of human endeavor, from markets to medi­cine, poker to pop music. Read this book 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
“Christopher Steiner knows how to find terrific stories and tell them well. He has written a lively narrative with humans at its center. To be sure, its subject is important, but the book is also fun.”
—Randall Stross, author of Planet Google and The Launch Pad

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Christopher Steiner is the cofounder and co-CEO of Aisle50, a Y Combinator start-up offering online grocery deals. An engineer, Steiner was pre­viously a technology staff writer at Forbes and the Chicago Tribune. He is also the author of $20 per Gallon, a national bestseller. He lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife, Sarah, and their children.

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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von E. Rau am 16. Dezember 2012
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Steiner hat interessante Gesprächspartner an Land gezogen, die wirklich etwas zu erzählen haben, wie Thomas Peterffy, Pionier automatisierter Handelssysteme und Gründer von Interactive Brokers; McCready, ein Musiker, der einen Algorithmus entwickelt hat, der potentielle Chart-Hits identifizieren kann, und einem Song eines anderen Musikers Namens Ben Novak tatsächlich zu kommerziellem Erfolg verholfen hat; David Cope, dessen Programme Kompositionen im Stil von - je nach Wunsch - Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff usw. schreiben können und dabei von den Orginalen selbst von Experten kaum zu unterscheiden sind ( Virtual Music: Computer Synthesis of Musical Style ); Bueno de Mesquita, der mit spieltheoretischen Modellen politische Entwicklungen vorhersagt
( The Predictioneer's Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future ) und einige mehr, die von auomatischer psychologischer Persönlichkeitsklassifikation, Hochleistungsglasfaserkabeln, computergestützter medizinischer Diagnostik, Datenverarbeitung bei Facebook usw. erzählen.

Obwohl ich solche Themen auch sonst verfolge, war doch einiges für mich neu und spannend. Schwach ist nur das Kapitel über die geschichtliche Entwicklung von Algorithmen. Der Autor hat pflichtbewusst ein paar Bücher gelesen und rattert bekannte Mathematiker wie Gauss und Euler herunter, mehrfach mit dem undifferenzierten Verweis, daß mit deren Erkenntnissen heutzutage Millionen an der Wall Street verdient werden.
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Von Evaldez am 23. Oktober 2012
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
As a reader of several tech blogs I thought I would be up to date to what is happening in the tech world. Indeed I was not. The reason is simple. Tech blogs are extended arm of marketing departments - other developments are kept almost secret.
In "Automate this - How algorithms came to rule our world" Steiner managed to interview some of the hidden masterminds - even of companies operating mostly in stealth mode. A creator of an algorithm turning his "child" into a cashcow has no need to tell the world about it! Steiner tells diverse success stories where algorithms really start "to rule the world". Every aspect of life is indeed affected - and any job: lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, salesmen, journalists, artists, truck drivers, financial businessmen and many other. Steiner brilliantly brings light into the fight for talents between Wall Street and other tech companies. The chapter about psychologic analysis of humans by algorithms was to me the most fascinating. The astounding findings of Kahler and Capers are in Germany nearly unknown and not present in university lectures.

This is a book any person with base knowledge of information technology should read. It covers even the latest developments until end of 2011. Psychologists should as well read "The Process Therapy Model - The Six Personality Types With Adaptations" of Dr. Taibi Kahler directly - available via US-version of amazon.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 117 Rezensionen
136 von 158 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Superficial treatment and overly narrow definitions of algorithm and a misguided example 1. Oktober 2012
Von Jijnasu Forever - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
For a book that is heavily publicized and garnered reviews in major business magazines, this book flatters only to deceive. Unless you are a total novice in this space, a reader is unlikely to find any new examples or insights from the author's treatment of algorithms. Most examples have been discussed ( in terms of technical content and impact on business models, society, behaviors) in magazines like Wired, PopSci and NYT technology pages many years ago. The dated references to recommendation engines like dating websites, those focused on music (Pandora, etc) are all superficial and provide no new insights or a critical appraisal of where those technologies are headed.

The author also overly focuses on Wall Street based scenarios to explain algorithms - he does a particularly bad job in representing algorithms as nothing more than fast calculators - that too, with a fundamentally flawed example based on option trading (I sincerely hope that the author never tried the trade he has mentioned in the book). That misguided example reflects poorly on author's understanding of algorithms and inadvertently proves one thing - algorithms are only as good as the thought that went behind its design.

Despite the superficial treatment, the author makes a few important points in the last two chapters on the need for more skill development in "STEM" disciplines and makes an argument that medical diagnostics is the next main area where algorithms are poised to expand. The discussion is very rushed and provides no meaningful action plan. Moreover, the author fails to acknowledge the vast amount of data that an individual is generating on a daily basis - and concepts of "big data" that could shape how new avenues for algorithms can evolve. Even in healthcare, the author's focus on a tiny sliver of possibilities shows a certain laziness to explore the topic more critically. The role of algorithms in personalizing treatment plans, monitoring for adherence, risk stratification etc are all well-understood frontiers in healthcare - and he chose to ignore them completely.

Overall, a very superficial (but fast paced, entertaining read) treatment of a narrow view of 'machine learning' with very few new insights or examples. An OK read for a beginner to the field.
53 von 60 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Poor treatment of a great subject 26. Oktober 2012
Von Kurt - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Steiner's approach to this topic is excellent, taking us through the widely acknowledged but little understood algorithms of Wall Street, to the Mathematical foundations of computer programming, and then to areas more likely to impact the lives of average readers, from commercial uses and finally to algorithms' potential uses in diagnostic medicine for both body and mind.

Unfortunately, the end result is a jumble of hyperbole, gaps in reasoning, outright plugs for certain companies, outdated examples, and just plain inaccuracies. Several readers, for instance, have commented on the confounding explanation of a delta neutral trade. I'm pretty confident that even the meatiest of the "meatheads" (Steiner's term) in the pit were competent enough to lock in a conversion or reversal (something that eludes Mr. Steiner). His explanation isn't just wrong, it entirely misses the concept of delta neutral, and so simultaneously denigrates both the conventional traders and the brilliance of Mr. Peterffy's arbitrage. This sad theme is repeated throughout the book. Steiner's world is one in which a handful of shining pillars of genius wade through a sea of crusty, intransigent morons, which although possessing a kernel of truth, grossly oversimplifies and thus does no justice to the push for and against the expanded use of algorithms.

I was also dismayed that although Steiner acknowledges on a number of occasions the dangers of runaway algorithms, he entirely avoids the far more subtle ethical questions of control. "No willy-nilly tests, no gut feelings, just data in, data out" says Steiner of a rather aggressively imagined Dr. Algorithm. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as neutral data. Which data are being used? How are they being interpreted? Who is making these decisions? Writing an algorithm for wide public use gives someone, whether it be the programmer, the owner of a music distributor, a hospital, or the government, an enormous amount of power. I feel that this book is sorely incomplete without some discussion of this.

We need straightforward, accurate, easily read books on these wonderful and terrifying tools. This just isn't one of them.
66 von 77 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
a great purchase; interesting and informative 2. September 2012
Von Nathan Wailes - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Length: ~220pp

1. Wall Street, The First Domino - this chapter tells the story of Thomas Peterffy, who was apparently the major innovator in the last 40 years in algorithmic trading. The guy is now a billionaire. It's a VERY interesting story.
2. A Brief History of Man and Algorithms - This spends a lot of time discussing mathematicians of the past, and how their innovations led to
3. The Bot Top 40 - Talks about how algorithms can be used to detect which songs are likely to be hits. Some great stories.
4. The Secret Highways of Bots - The main idea of this chapter is that the SPEED of algorithms is what makes them so valuable. The majority of the chapter is spent telling the story of how two guys spent $200 million building a new communications line between Chicago and NYC so that they could shave 4 milliseconds off the amount of time it took to communicate between the two cities, which gave a HUGE advantage in algorithmic trading. The plan worked and the guys made a ton of money off it.
5. Gaming the System - Algorithms in gaming (poker, etc.)
6. Paging Dr. Bot - Gives examples of companies that are using computers to replace a LOT of the work now done by doctors.
7. Categorizing Humankind - Tells the story of how NASA used algorithms to detect which astronauts would work well together during the 1960s/70s missions, and how this same idea is now being used to create algorithms that can detect your personality over the phone and connect you with a customer service representative whose method of communication matches yours. Very interesting.
8. Wall Street Versus Silicon Valley - Talks about how Silicon Valley and Wall St. compete for talent
9. Wall Street's Loss is a Gain for the Rest of Us
10. The Future Belongs to the Algorithms and Their Creators

How I found out about the book: I preordered the book after I read the author's August 2012 piece in the Wall Street Journal (which was just an excerpt from the book).

What I like about it:
- It is written very clearly, and you can finish the book quickly. The author used to write for Forbes, and it definitely felt like I was reading a magazine article while I was reading the book.
- The book isn't very expensive, and so it seems worth the price to have an extended glimpse into this topic. I don't subscribe to magazines and newspapers at the moment because too many of the articles aren't of interest to me, and it takes time to dig through all the stuff I'm not interested in and find stuff I AM interested in. A book like this solves that problem.

Other books to check out if you like this one:
- The Autobiography of Henry Ford - Ford spends most of the book talking about his method of innovation in manufacturing the Model T, which is exactly the same kind of innovation we're seeing now with the use of computers.
- The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil - talks about how computers are becoming smarter and smarter, to the point where we'll all be biologically immortal
- A Field Guide to Genetic Programming - this is a great intro to a type of computing that is producing better-than-human results by "evolving" programs instead of having people make them by hand.
14 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Non-fiction Standout of 2012 11. September 2012
Von Mr. Kow - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a gem of a book. The subject matter alone is compelling; it exists in that rare place where hugely important, life effecting forces go largely unexplained to the fray of humanity. Algorithms and the people who wield them are pulling all the strings here folks! This book details how it all happened and what's to come, and I for one appreciate being clued in.
The author's style is the best kind of journalistic prose - informative, technical when needed, and honed in on the humanity behind such a, dare I say, nerdy topic. I don't agree with the reviews knocking the lack of tech talk. This is NOT a textbook, but rather the type of discovery that's ingested by an engineer and spit out by a journalist and lucky for us Mr. Steiner is both. I can't think of many others who could succeed where he has. Read this book.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Sensational 2. Februar 2013
Von S P - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I really enjoy the aim of this book -- to explain how algorithms play such an important role in different areas of our lives. Case studies help add context to what might otherwise be an abstract mathematical musing. But I find the average Joe-oriented approach to come with unintended consequences. The writing is simply hyperbolic. It makes each incremental advancement in automation out to be the apocalypse. Options traders are using options -- well let's pack up and call it a day! Euler started mathematics from a young age -- what a genius! What a remarkable young mind!!

The author, lacking a more meaningful approach to this subject matter, decided to dramatize it as if to catch our attention. Duly noted, and poorly received.
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