This is a book people who work in technology or read technology should read. Morozov has a perspective that is both important and timely.
That said, heThis is a book people who work in technology or read technology should read. Morozov has a perspective that is both important and timely.
That said, he's a bit of an ass and that really complicates the work. Getting a full measure of value of of Morozov's writing required, for me, a bit of intentionally entering his perspective and framing. The twin problems of internet centrism and solutionism, when viewed from his particular perspective, can be seen as caustic and problematic. But this creates another problem. Many of the writers and thinkers Morozov dismisses w/ casual insult have valuable insights to offer IF WE GRANT THEM THIS SAME COURTESY OF BEING WILLING TO EXPERIMENTALLY ADOPT THEIR PERSPECTIVE FIRST. Morozov is very quick to dismiss the sum of a thinkers work after one instance of internet centrism or solutionism and thereafter anything they say, regardless of context, is viewed only through the lens of these problems.
I was especially repelled by his treatment of Jane McGonigal. I witnessed him mocking her traumatic brain injury on Twitter and then read his admission that he had dismissed her work in applying game mechanics to social problems without fully reading it. (This will be completely obvious to anyone who has read both of their work. Morozov makes the easy McGonigal=banal-game-mechanics assumption without considering her work w/ long games and social projects. He absolutely mistakes ends for means in her work.)
Beyond these problems of tone and depth of scholarship, Morozov is still required reading for people thinking about technology in society. I find myself agreeing with his conclusions, while being often repelled by his methods. With more work, patience, and above all, manners, I'm certain Morozov will become a respected voice in the field. As it stands, he's a really smart infant terrible who doesn't realize that many of the people he's dismissing aren't as stupid as his shallow dismissal of their work makes it seem.
(Tentatively recommended for general technology readers. Must read for people who have an interest in technology ethics.)...more
I want to write a full review later. For now, I'll say it is the best technology book I've read this year. Lanier seems to have matured since he wroteI want to write a full review later. For now, I'll say it is the best technology book I've read this year. Lanier seems to have matured since he wrote You are Not a Gadget. Gone are the polemics and personal attacks, replaced with reasoned arguments and perspective....more
Best critique of technology I've read in AGES. Turkle observes and records but does not judge. This, in my mind, sets her far above Carr and Morozov.Best critique of technology I've read in AGES. Turkle observes and records but does not judge. This, in my mind, sets her far above Carr and Morozov. Her insight, rigor, and methodology are impressive and the book is truly a must read for those concerned about the effect (affect) that networked technology has on our selves.
I found the second half to be much more powerful than the first. The book is split into two separate long-term studies. One of personable robots and the other of networked communications.
What makes this critique stand out is that Turkle is methodical and disciplined in her approach. Like McLuhan, she may have strong suspicion of the technologies she investigates, but she prioritizes understanding above judgement. She wants to know what it means for humans to talk to robots and for humans to communicate over networks. She has suspicions about the effects of these media and technologies, but she does not set out to prove her suspicions.
I've read other reviews that make the claim "Turkle hates technology." These clearly are missing something. She is critical of unexamined surrender to technology, but is very intentional (and correct IMHO) to point out that technology is not the problem, it is how we use and relate to technology. The root of a lot of these problems is this very tendency to humanize technology.
One of Turkle insights (shared w/ J. Lanier) is that when we attempt to talk about "artificial intelligence" or "human machines" we tend to change our definitions of intelligence and humanity, lowering our standards in order to anthropomorphize the machines. This is a mistake. Our tools are really freaking cool, there is no reason to pretend they are something more than tools....more
I finished this on the plane heading into LA. I really, really enjoyed reading the book, but it is going to take me quite a bit of time to unpack it.I finished this on the plane heading into LA. I really, really enjoyed reading the book, but it is going to take me quite a bit of time to unpack it. I was surprised that its reviews were so mixed. It did not suffer from the flaws attributed to it, I thought. Instead, I think the reviewers were expecting it to put forward a particular kind of argument that Weinberger declined (wisely, IMHO) to engage in.
Epistemologically speaking, Weinberger just assumes that the critiques raised by continental thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Foucault have been shown to be justified. His critics seem to want him to rehash and re-argue these critiques. Instead of doing this, Weinberger points to new ways data is being stored and new ways that people are creating knowledge out of these data as examples of how these critiques do a better job of explaining knowledge in today's contexts than do uncritical correspondence theories of truth or the idea that science is a mirror of nature. (I can see how readers who do not share an enthusiasm for continental philosophy and Pragmatism might find this assumption abrupt, but I would have found yet another rehash of that argument tedious and unnecessary.)
I've too much to say to put into this Goodreads review, but I hope to have a more thorough one up at informationgames.info in the near future....more
A nice coda to The Long Tail. Chris Anderson is a journalist, publisher, and someone who can write about economics for a public audience.
I happen to dA nice coda to The Long Tail. Chris Anderson is a journalist, publisher, and someone who can write about economics for a public audience.
I happen to drink the Kool-Aide connected to information abundance and how so much of the existing information distribution business is being disrupted by digital media and I think Anderson makes a very strong very accessible case that this is happening.
He's more accessible than Benkler. Even more so that Shirky or Weinberger, but he does so without sacrificing rigor. What Anderson does differently than the scholarly crowd is to take up the argument for information abundance from the business point of view.
Highly recommended, even though I'm late to the party and his examples are starting to get a touch dated....more