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May 23, 2018

How computers misunderstand the world

“There are lots of things on the internet that are popular but not good,” says Meredith Broussard, “like racism or ramen burgers.” Yet we are increasingly being offered the popular and not the good, and that’s just one negative effect of believing that the technological solution is always better one.

Broussard has been a data journalist and software developer, and she is now the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World, out now from MIT Press. Broussard has been programming since she was 11, but she has come to realize that the long-held utopian promises haven’t delivered. Now, she says, it’s time to be more critical, think about the limits of computers, and stop excluding equations from the system.

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