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The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High-Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking
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The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High-Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  12 reviews
As we devote ever-increasing resources to providing, or prohibiting, access to information via computer, Theodore Roszak reminds us that voluminous information does not necessarily lead to sound thinking. "Data glut" obscures basic questions of justice and purpose and may even hinder rather than enhance our productivity.

In this revised and updated edition of The Cult of I
Paperback, 267 pages
Published April 29th 1994 by University of California Press (first published October 31st 1985)
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Thedore Roszak shows how the benefits of computers' powerful ability to collect and process data are overexaggerated. He does not attack computers per se, but he does highlight the abuses and limitations of computer technology. For example, computers' data processing are frequently touted as a model of human thinking, hence the development of the academic field "cognitive science." Roszak shows that is simply not the case, humans rely too often on intuition and fuzzy logic as opposed to the mat ...more
Here is a critique of information technology from a humanistic perspective, focusing on the way the "data-processing model of thinking," a quantitative, ultimately binary, model of the mind on which computers are based, threatens to replace ideas as the dominant mode of thought in education, politics, and social life generally. This result of the mystifying effect of computers comes from the aura of certainty and mathematical precision bestowed on them by tech-enthusiasts.

Because it is hopelessl
This work, written by a professor of history at California State University (2nd ed ed 1994), does a good job at discussing the prevelance of information technology in modern society. A major problem with this work however, is its North American centricness. The United States is too isolationist in outlook and this treatise is a typical example of this. Another fault is the simplification of the librarian’s role. Rosak states that librarians are “cultural generalists rather than information spec ...more
If this book shows anything, it's that most ideas floating around today have been around for much longer than you'd think. The singularity has been "10 years away" for 40 years now. The surveillance society has been fully implemented and exposed. Military leaders have used experimental data as gospel. Having grown up with computers and the internet, perhaps I have also taken it as sacrosanct.
The best part of this book is the fascinating history of the origins of both computers in general and PCs especially -- the latter began in the counterculture which now seems pretty weird. Roszak shares similar views with Neil Postman and Clifford Stoll, two writers I've enjoyed reading.
The main point of the book, though, was to be a carefully written expose of the "cult of information", those who believe that a computer can do anything a human can do, only better; and that data = information =
Patrick Andersen
Dated in that it was updated nearly 20 years ago and originally written nearly a decade before that, but his thesis nevertheless stands.
Dave Peticolas
Roszak takes aim at the some of the conceits of the Information Age, which principle crimes are confusing information with knowledge, and information processing with thought. He generally hits his mark, too. Though his attempts to circumscribe the limits of electronic computation for all time are just a confused jumble of metaphysics.
This book has really but a thought into my head about how I should think when technology is to be used in an educational setting. It is probably better to have a discussion group like I did (I was forced to read it for my graduate class).
I love this book because it sets out in very reasonable terms the main reasons we should forbid all use of computers in public schools and force people to learn how to read and think first.
Written in the 80s so a bit outdated for technophobia, but some of his message resonates pretty truthfully. Unfortunately I think most of the book could have been summed up in a nice essay.
Michael Cheek
Verpligte leesstof vir iemand in die wetenskappe! Die skrywer is 'n ongelowige maar tog slaan hy die spyker op die kop.
I read this book in college and LOVED IT! I've marked it up like my scriptures. It is a stunning review of the implications of a constantly evolving technological culture.
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