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.
About the Author
John Maeda is an American technologist, designer, engineer, artist, investor, author, and teacher. He was recently appointed Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient, the technology marketing consulting and delivery arm of communications conglomerate Publicis. He has held positions with Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, led research at the MIT Media Lab, and served as president of the Rhode Island School of Design. Named as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st Century by Esquire, Maeda draws on his diverse background as an MIT-trained engineer, award-winning designer, and executive leader to bring people and ideas together at scale. He is the author of several celebrated books, including The Laws of Simplicity and Redesigning Leadership. He has appeared as a speaker all over the world, from Davos to Beijing to São Paulo to New York, and his talks for TED.com have received millions of views. He was born, raised, and lives in the United States of America.
“This book is mind-expanding. Not everyone needs to understand how to program a computer, but understanding how computers ‘think’ is no longer optional.”
—Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media and bestselling author of WTF?
“People who are fluent in ‘machine’ shape how technology benefits and burdens each of us. Making that language, and power, more accessible begins with this book.”
—Kat Holmes, UX director at Google and author of Mismatch
“Dazzling, unique, and radical. How to Speak Machine is like nothing I’ve ever read. It will rewire your brain (in a good way). A must-read for anyone looking to shape the future.”
—Jake Knapp, New York Times bestselling author of Sprint
“John Maeda has written an entertaining, thought-provoking, and relatable guide for people who want to better understand design and computing, and the inextricable relationship between the two. He breaks down complex concepts and presents them in a way that is approachable and artful. I am thrilled to have How to Speak Machine in my toolkit as I work to level the playing field in the tech industry.”
—Jewel Burks Solomon, tech entrepreneur
“Not a surprise, coming from John Maeda, this book is concise, eye-opening, approachable, constructive, and a necessary learning experience for anybody wishing to make the best of our contemporary world. It is the inscription, however, that says it all: only by embracing what makes us deeply human will we be able to find true companions—among humans and machines alike.”
—Paola Antonelli, senior curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design and founding director of MoMA Research & Development
“Loved, loved, loved this book, even though the title is wrong. It is not about machines; it’s about philosophy, design, humanity, and our future. Buy it, devour it, gift it to those you care for.”
—Juan Enriquez, bestselling author of As the Future Catches You and coauthor of Evolving Ourselves
“How to Speak Machine is an all-encompassing tour of the computational realm. John Maeda’s delight and wonder, along with his cautionary wisdom, are exactly what we all need when thinking through the many implications for what happens when the worlds of machines and humans intersect.”
—Sam Arbesman, author of Overcomplicated
“Before you can get machines to do what you want, you’d better learn to speak their language. John Maeda engineers rapprochement between humans and our computational creations in this engaging, enlightening book.”
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human
“A book with as much to teach about human behavior as it does technology. Riveting and important.”
--Emily Chang, Bloomberg TV Host and bestselling author of Brotopia
“You can always count on John Maeda to be different in a way that is provocative, fascinating, and inspiring, and in his new book, How to Speak Machine, all these talents are on prominent display.”
--Don Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things
“Artful and insightful, this book reveals the hidden beauty in the code bridging humans and machines.”
--Rolf Dobelli, author of The Art of Thinking Clearly