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The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive

Brian Christian.
Publisher Doubleday  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
ISBN 9780385533065
Pages/Publication Date 303/2011
Daedalus Item Code 33389
List Price: $27.95
Sale Price: $5.98
You Save: $21.97
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From his experiences preparing for the 2009 Turing Test, which pits artificial intelligence programs against humans in a competition to determine whether or not a computer can "think," Brian Christian has written an erudite, profound, yet playful examination of what it means to be human. Ideally suited to the task—holding dual degrees in computer science and philosophy as well as an MFA in poetry—Christian considers customer service "chatbots," existentialism, formulaic pick-up lines, poetry, long-distance calls, psychiatry, and love.

"An irreverent picaresque that follows its hero from the recondite arena of the 'Nicomachean Ethics' to the even more recondite arena of legal depositions to perhaps the most recondite arena of all, that of speed dating.... Christian has taken his own words to heart. An authentic son of Frost, he learns by going where he has to go, and in doing so proves that both he and his book deserve their title."—NYTBR

"In a fast-paced, witty, and thoroughly winning style, Christian documents his experience in the 2009 Turing Test, a competition in which judges engage in five-minute instant-message conversations with unidentified partners, and must then decide whether each interlocutor was a human or a machine. The program receiving the most 'human' votes is dubbed the 'most human computer,' while the person receiving the most votes earns the title of 'most human human.' Poet and science writer Christian sets out to win the latter title and through his quest, investigates the nature of human interactions, the meaning of language, and the essence of what sets us apart from machines."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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