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Royal Holloway joins the Big Read for second year running

Royal Holloway joins the Big Read for second year running

  • Date21 August 2023

Royal Holloway is delighted to be participating in the Kingston University Big Read for the second year running.


The award-winning shared reading initiative provides a common talking point for new students, who will receive a special edition of Dr Hannah Fry’s book, ‘Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine’, before joining Royal Holloway in September.

The book uses real-life case studies and examples to illustrate the ways in which artificial intelligence and algorithms are in use all around us and raises important questions about their power and limitations. Dr Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of algorithms that surround us – and of which most of us are unaware.

With artificial intelligence becoming such a pertinent topic in today’s world, there’s something of interest for readers of all backgrounds. From law and medicine to social media, the topics covered within the book are far-reaching and timely.

The author, Dr Hannah Fry, is a British mathematician, author, radio, and television presenter. She is currently Professor in the Mathematics of Cities in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) in the Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London (UCL).

Dr Fry said of her book: “I’m delighted and honoured to have been selected to be a part of the Big Read.

“There has been a paradigm shift in the use of data and the use of algorithms. I think there is no going back to the world we were in before. I think that we are only going to see the grip of algorithms and artificial intelligence increase as time goes on.

“I think the book works as a primer on these processes. A lot of the time these algorithms can, on the surface, look like they’re magic. But just like with magic shows or magicians, once you know how the trick is done a lot of the mysticism disappears and it allows you to think about them a lot more critically.

“I hope that by reading this book you’ll get a little glimpse into, not just the power of these algorithms, but their limitations and how to evaluate them in a much more critical way.”

Now in its ninth year, the Big Read title changes each year with a book chosen from a longlist, which is whittled down to a shortlist of six. A panel of students and staff across different universities select the chosen book.

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