Code Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI (Hardcover)

Code Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI By Madhumita Murgia Cover Image

Code Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI (Hardcover)


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Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction

A riveting story of what it means to be human in a world changed by artificial intelligence, revealing the perils and inequities of our growing reliance on automated decision-making

On the surface, a British poet, an UberEats courier in Pittsburgh, an Indian doctor, and a Chinese activist in exile have nothing in common. But they are in fact linked by a profound common experience—unexpected encounters with artificial intelligence. In Code Dependent, Murgia shows how automated systems are reshaping our lives all over the world, from technology that marks children as future criminals, to an app that is helping to give diagnoses to a remote tribal community.

AI has already infiltrated our day-to-day, through language-generating chatbots like ChatGPT and social media. But it’s also affecting us in more insidious ways. It touches everything from our interpersonal relationships, to our kids’ education, work, finances, public services, and even our human rights.

By highlighting the voices of ordinary people in places far removed from the cozy enclave of Silicon Valley, Code Dependent explores the impact of a set of powerful, flawed, and often-exploitative technologies on individuals, communities, and our wider society. Murgia exposes how AI can strip away our collective and individual sense of agency, and shatter our illusion of free will.

The ways in which algorithms and their effects are governed over the coming years will profoundly impact us all. Yet we can’t agree on a common path forward. We cannot decide what preferences and morals we want to encode in these entities—or what controls we may want to impose on them. And thus, we are collectively relinquishing our moral authority to machines.

In Code Dependent, Murgia not only sheds light on this chilling phenomenon, but also charts a path of resistance. AI is already changing what it means to be human, in ways large and small, and Murgia reveals what could happen if we fail to reclaim our humanity.

Madhumita Murgia is an award-winning Indian-British journalist and commentator, who writes about the impact of technology and science on society. She is currently AI Editor at the Financial Times in London, where she leads global coverage of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. She has spent the past decade travelling the world from Silicon Valley to Seoul, writing about the people, start-ups and corporations shaping cutting edge technologies, for publications including WIRED, the Washington Post, Newsweek and the Telegraph. She appears frequently on national radio and TV in the UK, including the BBC’s flagship Today program and Sky News. Her TEDx Talk, about her personal data being sold by data brokers has been viewed by nearly 200,000 people online. Madhu lives in London, but her heart remains in her hometown, Mumbai.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250867391
ISBN-10: 1250867398
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: June 18th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction

Code Dependent is the intimate investigation of AI that we’ve been waiting for, and it arrives not a moment too soon. Murgia travels the world to bring us intimate portraits of every aspect of the human condition—inner life, family, work, class, race, geography, gender, community, politics—as each is unmade and remade by today’s global AI juggernaut. Most critically, Murgia doesn’t just ‘tell.’ She ‘shows’ us in moving detail that AI is nothing more than a spectrum of possibilities selected and shaped by the economic and political powers that bring it to life. Her work brilliantly reveals the quiet daily violence and flesh and blood consequences of today’s dominant AI regime designed and deployed by surveillance capitalism. Ultimately, the steady drumbeat of her stories opens our eyes to what could have been and what might yet become if we learn to join forces to reclaim our digital century for people and planet.”
—Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus

"Brilliant storytelling. Books about AI often put the tech centre stage, but Murgia makes you, the human, the hero and sadly often the victim in this fascinating collection of stories about the impact of code on our future."
Marcus du Sautoy, author of The Creativity Code

"With its compelling narrative, Code Dependent is a testament to the power of storytelling in unraveling the complexities of AI. Murgia's profound insights and meticulous research offer a rare and invaluable perspective on the intersection of technology and society."
—Azeem Azhar, Founder, Exponential View

"Code Dependent provides a much needed corrective to the trendy breathless Silicon Valley insider AI history. Eschewing charismatic founders and sentient machines. it focuses instead on the world outside the tech bubble—the world AI’s boosters claim to be improving. By tending to the concrete stories of AI’s subjects, Code Dependent raises critical questions about AI and the business models behind it, doing so from the perspective of those laboring for and judged by costly, centralized AI models developed and deployed by employers, governments, and corporations."
—Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, co-founder of the AI Now Institute

"Exposes the hidden consequences of our existing AI technologies."
The Times

"A penetrating look at how we’re allowing artificial intelligence to infiltrate all parts of society, from policing, welfare, justice and health, to the point where whole lives are being altered – often ruined – by systems that hardly any of us understand."
The Daily Telegraph

"The power of this book lies in the rich stories it tells of individuals . . . Drawing on interviews from around the globe, this highly readable and deeply important book exposes AI’s sordid underbelly."
The Guardian

“Given the topic’s ubiquity, it is refreshing when a new perspective comes along. And Code Dependent is just that, making it a must-read for those struggling to reckon with the AI Revolution.”
New Scientist