Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Front Cover
Henry Holt and Company, Apr 19, 2016 - Science - 368 pages
13 Reviews

A fascinating exploration of how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind

All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us.

In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian (who holds degrees in computer science, philosophy, and poetry, and works at the intersection of all three) and Tom Griffiths (a UC Berkeley professor of cognitive science and psychology) show how the simple, precise algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of human memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
7
4 stars
5
3 stars
1
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - datrappert - LibraryThing

Lots of interesting stuff in this engaging look at how we might apply computer algorithms to daily life. Unfortunately, many of the algorithms are for solving problems that are much simplified ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nmarun - LibraryThing

This book provides deceptively simple insights into the day-to-day chores that we do. I don't think I'll every sort my bookshelf, as scanning it is lot more easier. The book provides some examples on ... Read full review

Contents

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2016)

Brian Christian is the author of The Most Human Human: What Artificial Intelligence Teaches Us About Being Alive, which was a Wall Street Journal bestseller and a New Yorker favorite book of the year. Alongside Steven Pinker and Daniel Kahneman, he was shortlisted for the Best Book of Ideas prize in the UK.

Tom Griffiths is a professor of psychology and cognitive science at UC Berkeley, where he directs the Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

Bibliographic information