Humans vs Computers is a book about people caught between wrong assumptions and computer bugs. You'll read about humans who are invisible to computers, how a default password once caused a zombie apocalypse and why airlines sometimes give away free tickets. This is also a book on how to prevent, avoid and reduce the impact of such problems.
Our lives are increasingly tracked, monitored and categorised by software, driving a flood of information into the vast sea of big data. In this brave new world, humans can't cope with information overload. Governments and companies alike rely on computers to automatically detect fraud, predict behaviour and enforce laws. Inflexible automatons, barely smarter than a fridge, now make life-changing decisions. Clever marketing tricks us into believing that phones, TV sets and even cars are somehow smart. Yet all those computer systems were created by people - people who are well-meaning but fallible and biased, clever but forgetful, and who have grand plans but are pressed for time. Digitising a piece of work doesn't mean there will be no mistakes, but instead guarantees that when mistakes happen, they'll run at a massive scale.
The next time you bang your head against a digital wall, the stories in this book will help you understand better what's going on and show you where to look for problems. If nothing else, when it seems as if you're under a black-magic spell, these stories will at least allow you to see the lighter side of the binary chaos.
For people involved in software delivery, this book will help you find more empathy for people suffering from our mistakes, and discover heuristics to use during analysis, development or testing to make your software less error prone.
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