9,802 book reviews and counting...

Tickbox Reviews

Tickbox by David Boyle

Tickbox

David Boyle

Score pending

1 review

Category: Non-fiction
Imprint: Little, Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 2 Jan 2020
ISBN: 9781408711873

It is time we escaped the tentacles of Tickbox. Boyle suggests a series of ways out - starting with recognising the danger and calling it out for what it is - a massive failure, corroding our lives and our ability, as human beings, to act on the world.

4 stars out of 5
Steven Poole
16 Jan 2020

"The clarifying virtue of Boyle’s often very funny book is that he extends this familiar critique of machine-learning systems to other equally algorithmic decision-making processes, even if they are performed by people shuffling paper."

People have long dreamed of dehumanising decision-making, purportedly because it will lead to greater objectivity and justice, but at least as much because it prevents those who have, after all, ticked the boxes from being blamed for any bad consequences. But any such system bakes in the biases of the designers and the data it is fed: in 2016, notoriously, Microsoft released an “AI” chatbot called Tay on to Twitter, and then shut it down again within a day, because its cheerfully anarchic human interlocutors had taught it to deny the Holocaust. The clarifying virtue of Boyle’s often very funny book is that he extends this familiar critique of machine-learning systems to other equally algorithmic decision-making processes, even if they are performed by people shuffling paper. Perhaps it would be nice to get rid of messy human judgment completely, but we are eternally condemned to exercise it even if we really rather wouldn’t.

Reviews