The Algorithm

How AI Decides Who Gets Hired, Monitored, Promoted, and Fired and Why We Need to Fight Back Now

Regular Price $15.99

Regular Price $20.99 CAD

Regular Price $15.99

Regular Price $20.99 CAD

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On Sale

Jan 2, 2024

Page Count

336 Pages




AI is on the brink of dominating our lives, threating our privacy and human future—if we don’t take action now. 
In The Algorithm, Emmy‑award winning Wall Street Journal and Guardian contributor Hilke Schellmann delivers a shocking and illuminating exposé on one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time: how AI has quietly, and mostly out of sight, taken over the world of work. 
Schellmann takes readers on a journalistic detective story, meeting job applicants and employees who have been subjected to these technologies, playing AI-based video games that companies use for hiring, and investigating algorithms that scan our online activity to construct personality profiles— including if we are prone to self -harm.  She convinces whistleblowers to share results of faulty AI -tools, and tests algorithms that analyze job candidates’ facial expressions and tools that predict from our voices if we are anxious or depressed.  Schellmann finds employees whose every keystrokes were tracked and AI that analyzes group discussions or even predicts when someone may leave a company. Her reporting reveals in detail how much employers already know about us and how little we know about the technologies that are used on us.
The Algorithm tells an even bigger story with Schellmann discovering faulty algorithms and systemic discrimination of women and people of color, which may have already harmed thousands of job seekers and employees.  It advocates to go beyond these tools to more thoughtfully consider how we hire, promote, and treat human beings—with or without AI.  As Schellmann emphasizes, we need to decide how we build algorithmic tools in any industry and what protections we need to put in place in an AI-driven world.
Hilke Schellmann is an Emmy-award winning investigative reporter and journalism professor at NYU.  Her work covering artificial intelligence has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, the MIT Technology Review, and The Wall Street Journal, where she led a team investigating how AI is changing our lives.  She has also reported for NPR’s Planet Money podcast on fake online reviews and her investigation for VICE on HBO was a finalist for a Peabody Award.  Her PBS Frontline documentary Outlawed in Pakistan premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was honored with an Emmy award.


“In The Algorithm, Hilke Schellmann has done the impossible: she has rendered the baffling ‘Wild West’ of AI immensely readable and approachable.  Schellmann gives us the dark and hidden history of tech innovation and the marketplace through the stories of those whose lives have been smashed by its glitches.” —Eliza Griswold, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Amity and Prosperity
“Hilke Schellmann is writing on one of the most important topics of our time—one that impacts all of us more than we realize.  The book takes a balanced approach to illuminating the current state of AI in the workplace.  It’s not just about incredible benefits or doomsday scenarios, but a real look into the current state of these tools, the incentive systems driving their proliferation, the mixed results they provide, and how we might ensure better outcomes.  Highly recommended.” —Ryan Fuller, former vice president for workplace intelligence at Microsoft
The Algorithm provides a fresh, important perspective on how AI is changing many critical workplace decisions in organizations.  Her research is thorough and clever, and exposes the many of problems that AI and its proponents have already created for companies and employees.” —David Futrell, Former Senior Director of Organization Performance at Walmart
“A disturbing investigation into use of AI systems in hiring, firing, and employee surveillance.  As Schellmann demonstrates, AI has moved into crucial areas of our lives, but the process has been so fast and silent that its influence is almost invisible.  She argues that HR managers should be required to understand how their algorithms work, and there must be greater human input to personnel decisions.  This eye-opening book makes it hard to disagree.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hilke Schellmann was one of the first journalists to understand the dangers of AI passing judgement on workers, and The Algorithm is an absolutely vital book about the risks and harms of the systems already operating—on us—today.” —Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody
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