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Author Kartik Hosanagar - A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence

  • Date: 04/03/2019 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Location: Buena Vista Branch Library
    300 N. Buena Vista St.
    Burbank, California 91506
  • Introduction: How algorithms are shaping our lives and how we can stay in control.

Through the technology embedded in almost every major tech platform and every  web-enabled device, algorithms and the artificial intelligence that underlies them make a staggering number of everyday decisions for  us, from what products we buy, to where we decide to eat, to how we consume our news, to whom we date, and how we find a job. We've even delegated life-and-death decisions to algorithms--decisions once made by doctors, pilots, and judges. In his new book, Kartik Hosanagar surveys the brave new world of algorithmic decision-making and reveals the potentially dangerous biases they can give rise to as they increasingly run our lives. He makes the compelling case that we need to arm ourselves with a better, deeper, more nuanced understanding of the phenomenon of algorithmic thinking. And he gives us a route in, pointing out that algorithms often think a lot like their creators--that is, like you and me.

Hosanagar draws on his experiences designing algorithms professionally--as well as on history, computer science, and psychology--to explore how algorithms work and why they occasionally go rogue, what drives our trust in them, and the many ramifications of algorithmic decision-making. He examines episodes like Microsoft's chatbot Tay, which was designed to converse on social media like a teenage girl, but instead turned sexist and racist; the fatal accidents of self-driving cars; and even our own common, and often frustrating, experiences on services like Netflix and Amazon. A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence is an entertaining and provocative look at one of the most important developments of our time and a practical user's guide to this first wave of practical artificial intelligence.

Books will be available for purchase and signing at this event.


Kartik Hosanagar is the John C. Hower Professor of Technology and Digital Business and a Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research work focuses on the digital economy, in particular the impact of analytics and algorithms on consumers and society, Internet media, Internet marketing and e-commerce. His writing has appeared in WiredForbes, and the Harvard Business Review. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering, a Masters in Information Systems from Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS, Pilani), India, an MPhil in Management Science, and a PhD in Management Science and Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University.

He has been the cofounder of several successful companies, among them Yodle Inc. and SmartyPal Inc. and he is involved with many other companies in the industry as an investor, board member, or consultant.

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