Cracking the Code: Madhumita Murgia explores AI’s human repercussions.


  • Madhumita Murgia’s book, “Code Dependent,” explores the human impacts of AI and the everyday algorithms that are changing society.
  • The book discusses how AI systems are built using data that often benefit some individuals and communities while marginalizing others.

In “Code Dependent” by Madhumita Murgia, the author delves into the complex world of artificial intelligence and the profound effects it has on society. Murgia, the Financial Times’s AI editor, highlights the importance of understanding what lies within the “black box” of algorithms that make critical decisions affecting our lives. The book sheds light on the biases and unintended consequences embedded in everyday algorithms, from healthcare to education to the justice system.

Murgia’s reporting covers a wide range of topics, from the training of AI systems through labeling tasks in Kenyan offices to the exploitation and lack of transparency faced by subcontracted AI laborers. The emergence of a new form of data colonialism is also discussed, where wealth created by AI work is not equitably shared, leaving many workers in poverty despite their contributions.

While Murgia acknowledges the potential of AI to improve health outcomes and shares stories of individuals using data work to rebuild their lives, the overall tone of the book is pessimistic. The author warns against the techno-boosterism of the past, highlighting how AI systems can lead to dystopian realities like the Chinese government’s surveillance and pre-emptive detention programs.

In conclusion, “Code Dependent” offers a thought-provoking look at the ethical and social implications of AI and challenges readers to consider the long-term impacts of the algorithms shaping our world.