Hello World by Dr Hannah Fry
(Transworld (UK), Norton (US), 2018)

Hello World

by Dr Hannah Fry

Shortlisted for the 2018 Royal Society Investment Science Book Prize and 2018 Baillie Gifford Prize.

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 judgement. Yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence.

Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not-too-distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions – in healthcare, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go even who 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.


[Hannah Fry is] the right person to write this startlingly clear account of how artificial intelligence is changing the way we live”
- The Sunday Times
Wise, sharp and witty, the definitive guide to living in the age of social media, algorithms and automation.”
- Adam Rutherford, author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived
Computers used to be tools, then they were toys, and now they're all around us. You couldn't ask for a better guide to this bewildering new world than Hannah Fry, who fills Hello World with wit, storytelling and superbly clear insight. Bravo!”
- Tim Harford, author and presenter of Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy
Hello World is an action-packed, quick read during which you will be outraged, provoked, and challenged. The numerous, meticulously researched examples reveal the astonishing new world we're living in, one where secret decisions with ambiguous goals are deciding our individual and collective fates. Welcome to the modern world of big data, you're quite possibly screwed.”
- Cathy O'Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction
With refreshing simplicity, Fry explains what AI, machine learning and complicated algorithms really mean… this book illustrates why good science writers are essential”
- The Guardian
Fry is brilliant at explaining the relationship between algorithms - which are, essentially, sets of instructions - and human beings... Top science writing.”
- The Evening Standard
A stylish, thoughtful, and scrupulously fair-minded account of what the software that increasingly governs our lives can and cannot do ... A beautifully accessible guide that leaps lightly from one story to the next without sparing the reader hard questions... deserves a place in the bestseller charts”
- The Times
Hello World is a gem of accessible science writing. With eloquence and charm, Hannah Fry outlines the maths of computer algorithms and explains how they are transforming fields such as health, justice, transport and the arts. She is a wise guide to the benefits - and horrors of our increasingly data-driven world.”
- Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland
Hannah Fry is one of the best explainers on the planet. In Hello World she examines the ups and downs of living with algorithms everywhere, online and off, in our homes and workplaces, hospitals and supermarkets. She takes a serious subject and leavens it delightfully with her clear writing and captivating stories, and her trademark sense of humour and fun.”
- Steven Strogatz, author of The Joy of X
Hannah Fry's masterful and entertaining call to arms needs to be read by every last human who unthinkingly entrusts our destiny to algorithms. Because, what do you know, the machine-determined future may just work against our best interests, people.”
- David Rowan, Founder editor of WIRED UK