By @SimonCocking review of Humans vs Computers by Gojko Adzic, available on Amazon, priced £9.99. For more information see

Humans vs Computers is a book about people caught between wrong assumptions and computer bugs. Some of the hilarious examples include humans who are invisible to computers, how a default password once caused a zombie apocalypse, and why airlines sometimes give away free tickets. It also tells the reader how to prevent, avoid and reduce the impact of such problems

This is a great book, one of the more fun, but also insightful books we have reviewed recently. We are already in an age where our expectations are high of what the world should do when we engage with technology. Thing is, it is all still based on us dealing with something which is ultimately just ones and zeros. We humans are fatally inclined to read human-like traits into anything which begins to seem even remotely human. We do it with our pets, but also with Siri, Alexa, chatbots, and everything else that has been programmed, but is still ultimately just that, a program, not a person.

Adzic carefully and in an informed way takes us through example after example of situations where our too-ready to believe faith in what computers can do is rapidly misplaced. This is not a book aimed at declaring that ‘modern life is rubbish’, rather it is a carefully nuanced explanation of why things do, and will go wrong. It all goes back to the fact that computers ‘see’ things differently (there you go, us humans putting a sensory attribute onto silicon-based artifacts again) to us. The idea for the book may well have come from his daily frustrations as someone working in this world, but the ability to understand how computers think is also a useful insight for the rest of us too. Many times things do not work as we’d like them to, because we have, unwittingly, created an ‘edge case’. Welcome to the world of programming, and, at times, imperfect solutions by software trying to fulfill our needs.

The book covers a range of funny, ironic, tragic, problematic experiences encountered by humans, some of which may well still continue to happen. We are already in a time where technology can do many wonderful things for us, think voice recognition, driverless cars, and much much more. Adzic’s book however is an enjoyable read which explains why we are not quite there yet!


Tech disasters and how to avoid them, by Gojko Adzic

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