• Hello World

  • How to Be Human in the Age of the Machine
  • By: Hannah Fry
  • Narrated by: Hannah Fry
  • Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (205 ratings)

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Hello World

By: Hannah Fry
Narrated by: Hannah Fry
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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Hello World by Hannah Fry. 

You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather determined your fate - a human or an algorithm?

An algorithm is more consistent and less prone to error of judgment. Yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence. 

You need a liver transplant to save your life. Who would you want in charge of organ allocation?

An algorithm can match organ donors with patients, potentially saving many more lives. But it may send you to the back of the queue. 

You’re buying a (driverless) car. One vehicle is programmed to save as many lives as possible in a collision. Another promises to prioritise the lives of its passengers. Which do you choose? 

Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not-too-distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions - in health care, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go, even whom we send to prison. So how much should we rely on them? What kind of future do we want?

Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they are replacing.

©2018 Hannah Fry (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Wise, sharp and witty, the definitive guide to living in the age of social media, algorithms and automation.'' (Adam Rutherford)  

What listeners say about Hello World

Average Customer Ratings
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Good in general

Good and interesting in general but becomes too vague at moments, could loose your attention easily.

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A great start on you AI journey

This is a great introduction to artificial intelligence and the power of algorithms. You don’t need previous knowledge of the technology to understand. Everyone should educate themselves on this issues since it will change the world we know.

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Good for noobs

I know about the tram dilemma and Tesla car programming dilemmas. And so on, if you’re familiar with a sort of mid level understanding for logarithm, this feels a bit entry level. Otherwise, it’s well written and entertaining. I would recommend it to the uninformed.

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entertaining and extremely easy to consume

entertaining and extremely easy to consume. well researched and funny in delivery. concepts easily translated to be relatable and understandable

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Painfully shallow

Lots of interesting things are mentioned, but then moves on to the next interesting thing.

I would be interested in a non abridged version, but this one I can't recommend.

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Better for a layman than AI enthusiast

Good and enjoyable treatment of machine learning for the uninitiated. But I have followed the field for some time, so most of the matter was quite familiar already, and I even had heard many of the anecdotes and stories before. So depending on where I come from it might be an excellent book, or just something to pass the time in the train, even though you heard much of it before. Well read by the author as well!

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plenty of facts, stories and excellent reflections

great balance between information and reflections, facts and judgement and a refreshing dose of ethical and humanistic concerns

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  • TH
  • 09-14-18

Thoroughly brilliant

This is a brilliant book, balanced, thoughtful and informative. Not alarmist, not uncritical, perfect balance.

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Great

Good book. Could have been more in depth but that's maybe because I had read more about the topic before. Thanks to the author for reading the book herself.

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The age of Machine Learning

This book is a brief overview of machine learning in its current state. What it does well and how it goes wrong. The author is accurate in her assessment that algorithms are far from perfect, and can sometimes miscalculated conclusions in serious issues such as Court Judgement, Facial Recognition, as well as a plethora of other areas.

Her conclusion certainly does not dismiss the take over of human higher functions by artificial intelligence, but is prudent and realistic timetable and explains why algorithms have a way to go.

I was somewhat disappointed, that the different ways machine learning is achieved was not discussed in depth, but understand that such detail may not be as attractive to readers who are new to the subject.

Very good book, recommended to those who are new to the subject, and are interested in AI’s recent achievements.

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  • Justus
  • 09-14-18

A very well balanced and informative view

The impact of computing on society, equally showing pros and cons. Compelling, informative and scientific.

As opposed to many other publications under this topic this book provides a balanced view of what "algorithms" do to society. Often this topic is tackled by die-hard proponents, promising paradise on earth by means of intelligent machines or fear mongering opponents, predicting our extinction by a rogue AI.
This book instead offers facts. Real world examples if what algorithms can do and cases in which they failed, in addition to scientific studies and papers outlining just what exactly algorithms are capable of and what they will never achieve.

Hannah beautifully manages to convey complex topics such as Bayesian probability in simple words and keep the listener engaged whilst ensuring what is said is precise and scientifically sound.

In a old where it feels as though everything must be black and white, one is either for it or against it, it is especially valuable for a book to be so balanced and "Grey" in the best way.

I personally think this is a must read. For everyone. Algorithms interact with everyone and it's only going to increase in the future. Particularly those people unfamiliar with the workings and limitations of computers will find a highly accurate and easy to understand outline of algorithmic capabilities in this book.

It was so worth it to renew my audible subscription to get this book.

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  • Daniel O'Connor
  • 12-13-18

Fascinating, thought-provoking and terrifying 😨

Always been a fan since the early days of Radio 4's "Curious Cases" and had been looking forward to this.

It's really good. Educational and makes you think, and the section describing how China uses social media is *literally* something out of Black Mirror.

I see it as a companion piece to Yuval Noah Harari's "Homo Deus". Dr. Fry talks about the science, Harari discusses the consequences. Both are excellent.

And plus, listening to the Audible version means you get Hannah Fry's Lauren-Bacall-if-she-came-from-Essex voice breathing at you for several hours. Which is nice.

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  • James Kant
  • 09-05-18

Great read

What an interesting and eye-opening audiobook. I deeply enjoyed this book, highly recommend to anybody as it is very easy to follow with great explanations.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-31-18

Just brilliant

I have always appreciated the work of Hannah Fry since I first heard of her, but this book was more than anything I could have asked for. It’s a book full of tons of little story’s I will be repeating to my friends (only if I haven’t already made them buy themselves).

Undoubtedly worth using my audible free trial for this. If I had to sum it up in a phrase: MIND EXPANDING. And her voice is amazing. This book will give you something to say at every family dinner for the next year or so. Well done Hannah! :)

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  • S. S. Allen
  • 08-24-18

An essential read for all those who value data.

Hannah Fry gives an intriguing and exposing insight into the world of the algorithm. She raises what many of us must have been thinking if only subconsciously, that algorithms play an important part in our lives. It is wonderful when they work well. As Hannah points out they can be incredibly destructive if used incorrectly even to the point of causing death. Hannah Fry not only wrote this book but read it as well. It is wonderfully read. Books read by the author have so much more impact. It is wonderful to listen to and I hope that those who rely on algorithms will listen to this book. It also raises the question that if data is in a computer it must be correct. Data, of course, is only as good as the capture and the input. Inevitably data is categorised. Get that wrong and the data is at best useless and at worst dangerous. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. An essential read for all who value data and its uses.

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  • BeardyMcBeardFace
  • 08-24-18

Fascinating, informative mellow

Fabulous insight into how information about us all is collected and turned into big data and used.. mostly for everyone's benefit. I bought this yesterday and finished it today. The fastest I've ever finished a book. It was as close to a non-stop read/listen as you can get. Sadly I had to stop because I haven't mastered sleep-deprivation.

It is a bonus the Hannah Fry narrates her own book. Without wanting to cross the creepy line, her voice is as warm and mellow a a cup of hot chocolate just before sleep. Perfect for audio books. A suggestion for a sideline maybe?

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  • Paul Hinds
  • 08-23-18

Wow! What a great listen

I was really looking forward to this book being released and I wasn’t disappointed.

I have read a lot of books already about ‘big data’, artificial intelligence and algorithms, but the difference with Dr Fry’s work is that it weaves in human stories alongside the description of the technology. Many of the examples given in the book are well established, such as Deep Blue beating Gary Kasparov at chess, but the book discusses as much about Kasparov’s emotional response to Deep Blue’s strategy as much as the algorithm behind it. This really brings home the idea that the future of this technology is as much about the human condition as it is about the technology itself.

This book has something for everyone irrespective of whether you are looking for an introduction to the subject or already have a good understanding. The narration is excellent and the book flows so easily that I ended up listening to the whole thing in one day.

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  • Dave Barns
  • 09-02-18

A fascinating journey through the murky world of algorithms!

An amazing listen. Beautifully written with wonderful narration from hannah. Packed with engaging stories that bring the world of algorithms to life.

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  • Malthe S.
  • 09-01-18

Very charming narrator

Hello World is full of interesting stories and thoughts on the effect of algorithms and Hannah Fry does an excellent job of narrating it in an engaging manner.

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  • Michael Clarke
  • 09-01-18

An interesting and stimulating listen

Excellent use of anecdotes and examples to make complex topics interesting and engaging.

As Hannah broaches a variety of topics in the book, even if you don't know much about a particular part you can enjoy the whole. The theme runs strong and true through till the end, including personal opinions of the author and arriving at a conclusion.
It had the feel of a well researched academic paper presented in layman's terms such that any listener could understand it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew willey
  • 11-14-21

Insightful, with both hope and dread.

I love Hannah Fry's style anyway. It's humane and approachable. I knew I'd probably like this book before I bought it, So glad I was right.
She sheds unexpected light on the diversity and depth of algorithms, and how they influence our world. Be prepared for a deep dive into a story that is far from unfinished. THe growing use of algorithms promises much, but also threatens things we genuinely value.
Her ultimate message is that we are still in charge, and how these tools are used reflect both the good and the bad aspects of our nature.
A fascinating and accessible read. Buy it, the algorithms say you want to. :-)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-15-21

Computer says: Here be dragons

Fascinating investigation into the increasing use of algorithms in society. Well thought out and even handed with hint of hopeful optimism amongst what I see mostly as nightmarish (but partly cautiously less so). Numerous historical examples and a few future possibilities (which may have come to pass already). Humans seem to struggle with the why and why-not of many questions raised in the book and Hannah pleasantly-terrifyingly made me think.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-27-21

brilliant

something for everyone. from the geek to the person who doesn't know how to turn on their computer.

I wrote this using my predictive text algorithm

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  • Athur E. Nonimus
  • 05-19-20

Excellent but not without flaws

An excellent work. I would have liked a bit more detail on somethings but it didn't drag down the rest not having it. The biggest issue is as I listen in the car when Hannah Fry speaks quietly, usually for emphasis or to make a point, it can be all but impossible to hear at times. Turning up the volume is not an option as she returns to full volume within seconds which would blow out the speakers. Other than that it's a high recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-19-20

Elaborate ideas, simple explanations

This book was excellent in its capacity to take the complex world of algorithms, bias and broader philosophy, breaking it down into bite-size chunks with a number of case studies prepared to elaborate on each claim. A very well-written and informative book that embraces the challenge of unpacking algorithms with vigour.

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  • Belinda Stewart
  • 04-12-20

Eye opener

Loved it. It's an eye opener and some parts but mostly a better understanding of the workings of algorithms in our lives. Reminder that it doesn't have to be a zero sum relationship with machine.

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  • RynGibbs
  • 05-09-19

interesting book read by the author

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to Hannah Fry reading her book. The content was thought provoking and accessible. I also learned a lot about algorithms.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-19

Engaging, Insightful and a Little Bit Terrifying

Hello World is a masterpiece that tells the stories of the many algorithms and neural networks that work behind the scenes in our day to day lives. While most of these machines are created with good intentions, learning the extent of their knowledge and their capacity for error is often a sobering experience.

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  • Claire J
  • 01-31-19

Love Hannah Fry!

I love Hannah Fry and the book didn't disappoint. An interesting walk through the pros and cons of algorithms in different applications. super interesting and pitched just right for any level of expertise.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-18

Great for Math nerds

Easy listening and narrated with the emotion that is warranted for some of the heavier themes.