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The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data
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The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  76 reviews
We used to say "seeing is believing"; now googling is believing. With 24/7 access to nearly all of the world's information at our fingertips, we no longer trek to the library or the encyclopedia shelf in search of answers. We just open our browsers, type in a few keywords and wait for the information to come to us. Indeed, the Internet has revolutionized the way we learn a ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 21st 2016 by Liveright
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Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Of the societal issues I struggle with, our seeming dependence on the internet and social media are usually at the forefront of my thoughts. As I walk through the crowded station on my way to work every morning, dodging people walking with their heads down in their phones, or wondering as I occasionally look over the shoulder of someone staring intently at their phone what is so enrapturing (spoiler alert: it is more often than not Pokemon Go or pictures of themselves), it is something that is
Vagabond of Letters, DLitt

More about epistemology than technology per se. Rather politically correct, but par for the course for mainstream 'academic-lite' books. Some interesting remarks on epistemology, but if you're interested in that, better to pick up 'Epistemology: A Beginner's Guide' (which is much better than the Very Short Introduction entry of the same). For the technology, read 'Data and Goliath' by Schneier.
Charles Moore
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I couldn't tell you how I found out about this book but I'm glad I did. I occasionally enjoy reading about the internet and knowledge and learning, from a little more philosophical point of view, without a lot of politics or self glorification. While Lynch once in a while gets his digs in about the government for the most part he is quite fair, I think, and points out a lot of potential problems with learning and understanding in our web-structured world. As a person who watches too many college ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book! It is pop-philosophy that anyone can read and appreciate. It has enough call backs to major philosophy that it is a great introductory book. A lot of the book is tied to the idea of having nueromedia (a thing that doesn't exist yet) and what that would mean for how we think. Apart from the rest of the book, my favorite point was that crowd sourcing is a form of outsourcing.

This is definitely worth a read, it is quick and thought provoking without being cumbersome.
Amy McLay Paterson
Apr 17, 2016 rated it liked it
The treatment of the issues was a little more rudimentary than what I hoped (though the book is aimed at a general readership, rather than information professionals), but I appreciated the philosophical bent. There's a bit of the usual technological fearmongering, but not enough to make it tiresome or uninteresting. ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology
The ease of Google searches leads to our subtly devaluing other ways of knowing. Like our love affair with the automobile leads us to overvalue one way to get where we are going. We lose sight that we can reach our destinations in other ways which have significant value on their own.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book!!
Feb 22, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a lot like Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room except from a much more philosophical point of view. In fact, I wouldn't recommend this for anyone who doesn't have at least a passing familiarity with philosophy. Mine is only as an amateur and I had to stretch to understand Lynch's references and some of the terminology and "idea shorthand".

Other than that, it's very similar to th
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Other people have said everything in this book before and they have said it better. The analysis is incredibly shallow and the examples given are basic.

One gets the impression that this book was written to fill the last week of a freshmen-level course when students go, "So how does all this philosophy stuff actually have anything to do with my life anyway?"
Jeff Francis
For those of us who didn’t come of age with the Internet, there is a persistent, nagging question: Has the Internet truly changed us, as a people?… and if the answer is yes, is that change good, bad, or some combination of the two?

Because I consider these perhaps the most relevant questions of our time, I generally liked and admired Michael Patrick Lynch’s “The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data”… even if it wasn’t quite what I expected.

“The Internet of
M Pereira
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is surprisingly philosophy heavy. Concepts like the extended mind and moral psychology come into mind. Epistemic justice and Fricker's 2006 work on ignorance really highlight the deeper issues underlying the new age of technology: internet of things, web 2.0 (social media) and its effect on politics and agency.

I highly recommend this. There are a lot of books out there these days asking 'what the hell has happened!' with social media and technology, but I think this one will stay on b
Mark Valentine
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found reading Lynch's reflection on Big Data, Google, and the digital world helpful. It was another brick of understanding in the edifice of our age. I especially liked his repeated references to classic Philosophy to interpret our times (Plato) and I also liked his reflections on creativity (v. originality).

For me, at times its reading became redundant or simplistic, but overall, it was beneficial or helpful.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This book raises an important topic, one that merits a lot of discussion, but as other reviewers mention, is overly simplistic, especially for someone in tech. It's worth reading to contemplate a personal response to information overload, but I won't be recommending it to any friends. ...more
Guillaume Bouchard
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great insights from the pasts to understand the Internet Age. Definitely recommend the book past the first chapter that sound a little bit anti-technology.
[Note: I listened to the audiobook] The book takes a more philosophical perspective to the Internet and how individuals utilized it as a way of knowing. Indirectly, it provides an easy way to improve ones' habits: focus on quality over quantity. Check the sources of cites. Check the credentials of the authors (and if those institutions are credible). And first and foremost: are you sure you think you know what you want out of the source? There's a different standard needed for information that i ...more
Sep 17, 2020 added it
I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow my mind or anything. A nice read, confirming much of what many probably intuitively know but perhaps can't express as eloquently. Would recommend to just about anyone because it is interesting and accessible.

"As I've already noted, the Internet didn't create this problem, but it is exaggerating it. Yet you might think that this isn't so bad. As philosopher Allan Hazlett has pointed out, if everyone agrees in a Democracy, something's gone wrong. Democracies shoul
Alexander Smith
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book begins by proposing a simple, practical idea: the internet has the power to create pseudo-knowledge by organizing information to explain what we "know" by making assumptions about what we already believe... and that this can be terrible for the search for honest-to-goodness TRUTH.

But, Dr. Lynch says, 'Fear not!' for there are ways to consider how this technology can be pedagogically useful so long as we understand the risks of use. He explains in simple terms how it provides a foundat
Derek Lam
I suppose it's a good read as a "conversation opener" on the related topics, with interesting examples and cases here and there that makes you wonder. But a bit light on providing substantial arguments for the books' main theses. E.g. while a lot of ink is spilt on explaining what "understanding" (contrast to "receptive knowing") is supposed to be, it would have been nice if the author can say a bit more what makes him think that people understand less -- what his criterion for making that judgm ...more
Amie Viller
TBH a lot of this book can just be reasoned. Maybe I had a very thorough education on the a internet and I'm more curious as to why and how humans actually come to understand, learn and know, but this book was just a repeat of a lot my High School Classes. To others it might be pretty enlightening to know where the future of the Internet is going and so far how that has affected us. To me, I feel like I've read a lot of articles on what will be the future of the Internet and how millenials use a ...more
Kenia Sedler
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
What does it mean to "know" in the age of "Google knowing"? How do you know that you know, when you gain knowledge through others rather than direct experience (i.e. The majority of the knowledge that each of us carries gained from teachers, books, the internet...)? And in this age of Google and Snowden, what does privacy entail? What does it mean to control our own personal information? And if we are completely unaware of our data being collected, and our lives are unaffected in our blissful ig ...more
Elsbeth Kwant
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vakantie2018
Very insightful - especially on philosophical questions, such as the effect of the fact that online is a constructed world, not a material one. I like someone who says that property is a social construction par excellence (embodied for me in the concept of copyright extending after death). Also the complexity of the internet 'constructed by a gazillion hands, al using different plans'. Lynch speaks about neuromedia, extended minds - us looking out of the window of the Internet even as the Intern ...more
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
I am predisposed to like a book of this kind. Shifting between technological advances, philosophical musings, and thought experiments, "The Internet of Us" is a tour of all the ways the internet has changed our thinking and relationships, for better and for worse.

Outside of my niche, though, I wondered how others would receive it. A survey can be interesting, but it can also lack the immediacy and applicability of other genres. This is not a "self-help" book, per se, unless you read between the
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The internet has fundamentally changed the way we approach information, knowledge and beliefs. This book serves as an observation of the very timely, current event of our society. We must remain vigilant to avoid getting stuck in filter bubbles that reinforce our prejudices, having our personal information harvested and abused by those in power. In other words, you would not take in beliefs that aren't grounded in truth and reason. According to this book, we should be aware that online informati ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Michael Lynch raises some important questions about the how humans will best use future technologies. Even if you don't agree with everything written, the ideas raised should be discussed and debated by our society.

“Acceptance without reflection is dangerous."

“We often adopt an attitude of default trust toward digitally acquired information. It, therefore, tends to swamp other ways of knowing. We pay attention to it more. That is not surprising. Google knowing is often, although not always, fast
Iver Band
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Limits of The Internet and Big Data

Examines different types of knowing, and how technology can help nurture, but not replace, them. Very clearly introduces and applies a number of philosophical concepts. Ends disappointingly, though. There are clearly implications here for personal and family conduct as well as public policy that are not full!y explored. A pleasure to read, and thought-provoking for IT professionals like myself.
Brian Reed
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy
I feel that this book deserves a five star rating not because it is a page turner with an addicting story, but because it raises important points about the decay of critical thinking in the age of the internet and the responsibility of each person to be a discriminating and responsible part of their own social network. I would recommend everyone read it to make sure they keep thinking, and keep thinking about thinking.
Cullen Haynes
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘The Internet of Us’ is an in depth look at the evolving grip that this unbridled amount of information has on our lives.
As Lynch’s book rightly asserts, it used to be the case that “seeing is believing” now the paradigm has shifted and googling is believing. We are living in a world where we know more, yet understand less.
“All I know is that I don’t know, All I know is that I don’t know nothing”. - Operation Ivy
Jan 30, 2020 added it
The premise was interesting, but there were large chunks where I felt like I heard words but couldn't grasp the main meaning. It could well be because I was listening to the audiobook while on a trip in a non-English speaking country, and not always paying undivided attention. Raised some interesting thoughts to consider at least, that we should be more discriminative between "google knowing" and more investigative knowledge creation. ...more
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Philosophy book. Thesis? Google knowledge is not reason or understanding. It is at most risk for mob mentality/information cascades bc the information is so cheap and readily available and doesn't necessarily lend itself to critical thinking. He approves of the democratization of information but wants us to better understand the conditions under which it is produced and disseminated so that we can become more responsible knowers. ...more
Jacob Benjamin Paramore
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of general knowledge, written for a wide audience using common examples to explain his idea. Some seem to have hoped that this book would go into heavy detail, but I read it more as a conversational piece explaining simply why we should maintain our individuality, and not that we should avoid technology, but we wary of letting it become us. Fun, intelligent read.
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3 likes · 1 comments
“What we—both as individuals and as a society—should learn from Mom and Locke is that we must be extremely careful about allowing online information acquisition—Google-knowing—to swamp other ways of knowing.” 2 likes
“My hypothesis is that information technology, while expanding our ability to know in one way, is actually impeding our ability to know in other, more complex ways; ways that require 1) taking responsibility for our own beliefs and 2) working creatively to grasp and reason how information fits together. Put differently, information technologies, for all their amazing uses, are obscuring a simple yet crucial fact: greater knowledge doesn’t always bring with it greater understanding.” 1 likes
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