Book Review: You Look Like A Thing And I Love You by Janelle Shane | How Does AI Really Work?

AI is everywhere now– and it’s very meme-able.

3 comments

AI is everywhere now– and it’s very meme-able.

About the Book

Title: You Look Like A Thing And I Love You

Author: Janelle Shane

Published: 2019

Genre: nonfiction

Rating: 4.5/5

The Blurb:

(from Goodreads):

You look like a thing and I love you” is one of the best pickup lines ever… according to an artificial intelligence trained by scientist Janelle Shane, creator of the popular blog “AI Weirdness.” She creates silly AIs that learn how to name paint colors, create the best recipes, and even flirt (badly) with humans–all to understand the technology that governs so much of our daily lives.

We rely on AI every day for recommendations, for translations, and to put cat ears on our selfie videos. We also trust AI with matters of life and death, on the road and in our hospitals. But how smart is AI really, and how does it solve problems, understand humans, and even drive self-driving cars?

My Thoughts

So I’d been eyeing this book since I saw it at Barnes & Noble and now I finally got it and read it— it was really interesting! As I consider my fUtUrE goals (I’m planning to study comp sci in college) and what kind of area or whatever I want to focus on, AI/ML has been on my radar and I wanted to learn more. Plus it’s just interesting.

I enjoyed the comics/illustrations littered throughout; they were a great addition to the book, and they did a great job adding some extra humor and keeping you engaged.

Some things I learned from this book:

AIs go for the past of least resistance, and this usually involves being a smart aleck (i.e. if the instruction is to minimize loss when gambling it will decide to just not place any bets at all. Or if the instruction is to not lose a video game it will simply pause the game when it gets close to losing) That’s hilarious. It’s hard not to anthromorphize.


it is possible for them to become biased if given biased data— so the use of real world data can often lead to biased AIs even though computers are technically impartial. This actually never occurred to me. For a while, I scoffed at the idea that computers could be racist/sexist/etc., but after reading the explanations in this book, it makes perfect sense: after all, computers learn everything from humans.


AIs perform the best when they are highly specialized and there is less room to go wrong. If you have a text generator that is specifically for generating, like, names of clothing brands or something it will perform better than one that’s supposed to encompass all of human intelligence

The book also goes into the future of AI and the implications for us humans.


In short, I’m glad to hear this author at least doesn’t think we’re on the verge of a the Matrix/terminator situation because I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just slightly concerned

The Verdict:

Long story short, I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn about artificial intelligence!

(After I finished reading this, I went and read a bunch of Janelle Shane’s blog posts on AI Weirdness, which I also highly recommend checking out!)

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3 comments on “Book Review: You Look Like A Thing And I Love You by Janelle Shane | How Does AI Really Work?”

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