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

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  108 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
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Paperback, 267 pages
Published April 29th 1994 by University of California Press (first published October 31st 1985)
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Shuhui
Oct 15, 2012 Shuhui rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-critiques
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
Dylan
May 08, 2012 Dylan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Yrinsyde
Mar 08, 2008 Yrinsyde rated it liked it
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
mm
Jul 11, 2014 mm rated it really liked it
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.
Kerith
Jul 26, 2011 Kerith rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
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 =
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Patrick Andersen
Mar 04, 2014 Patrick Andersen rated it liked it
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
Oct 08, 2014 Dave Peticolas rated it liked it
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.
Christopher
Oct 29, 2007 Christopher rated it it was amazing
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).
Colin
Feb 25, 2008 Colin rated it it was amazing
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.
Melanie
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
Feb 03, 2011 Michael Cheek rated it really liked it
Verpligte leesstof vir iemand in die wetenskappe! Die skrywer is 'n ongelowige maar tog slaan hy die spyker op die kop.
Amanda
Feb 10, 2009 Amanda rated it it was amazing
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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Theodore Roszak was Professor Emeritus of history at California State University, East Bay. He is best known for his 1969 text, The Making of a Counter Culture.

Roszak first came to public prominence in 1969, with the publication of his The Making of a Counter Culture[5] which chronicled and gave explanation to the European and North American counterculture of the 1960s. He is generally credited wi
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“I think, however, the current fascination with the computer and its principal product, information, deserves a more critical response. This is because the computer does so ingeniously mimic human intelligence that it may significantly shake our confidence in the uses of the mind. And it is the mind that must think about all things, including the computer.” 0 likes
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