Descripción de editorial
Visionary designer and technologist John Maeda defines the fundamental laws of how computers think, and why you should care even if you aren't a programmer.
"Maeda is to design what Warren Buffett is to finance." --Wired
John Maeda is one of the world's preeminent interdisciplinary thinkers on technology and design. In How to Speak Machine, he offers a set of simple laws that govern not only the computers of today, but the unimaginable machines of the future.
Technology is already more powerful than we can comprehend, and getting more powerful at an exponential pace. Once set in motion, algorithms never tire. And when a program's size, speed, and tirelessness combine with its ability to learn and transform itself, the outcome can be unpredictable and dangerous. Take the seemingly instant transformation of Microsoft's chatbot Tay into a hate-spewing racist, or how crime-predicting algorithms reinforce racial bias.
How to Speak Machine provides a coherent framework for today's product designers, business leaders, and policymakers to grasp this brave new world. Drawing on his wide-ranging experience from engineering to computer science to design, Maeda shows how businesses and individuals can identify opportunities afforded by technology to make world-changing and inclusive products--while avoiding the pitfalls inherent to the medium.
Reminiscing on a 30-year career in technology and art, Maeda (Redesigning Leadership), former president of the Rhode Island School of Design, offers some worthwhile but scattered insights into navigating the digital age. To explain how to "speak machine," he uses classic mathematical graphics to illustrate computing's finer points; for instance, the Koch snowflakes are used to explain that "computation has a unique affinity for infinity, and for things that can be let to continue forever." To show "what digital consciousness can feel like," he describes his 1993 Kyoto art installation where people in a disco club posed as computer parts. Maeda chatters nostalgically about his first computer (an Apple II), the basic programs he wrote while in high school to help his parents manage their tofu shop in Seattle, and about attending MIT in the mid-1980s. He refers critically, but only glancingly, to the "despots and other power mongers" who would use social media "to impact millions of minds... with just a few destructive keystrokes." Perhaps most affectingly, he envisions a future populated by countless numbers of computers in windowless high-rises becoming "better collaborators with each other than we ourselves could ever be." Given Maeda's vast experience, readers may wish his fitfully intriguing ramble had more thoroughly anatomized the grim future he envisions.