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World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech
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October 2017: Society > World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech/Foer - 4 stars

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message 1: by Anita (last edited Oct 11, 2017 03:16PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anita Pomerantz | 6304 comments While I confess that I didn't agree with much of this book, I found it to be fascinating.

Foer basically argues that companies that are dominating data collection (namely Facebook, Google, and Amazon) are monopolies because they are able to use that data to (unfairly) compete. He is critical of the fact that government has allowed these monopolies to evolve and that consumers are making a bargain with the devil, trading off freedom for efficiency.

What he fails to do, to my satisfaction, is indicate what we should do about it. He seems to have some vague ideas about the government's ability to protect privacy and that if the upper echelons of society would all just elevate reading on paper (newspapers, magazines, books) to the level it deserves, it would somehow permeate the rest of society. He has a lot more faith in the political machine than I do.

Personally, it seems to me that the horse is out of the barn, and there's going to be no reining it in. Foer seems to imply that no company will ever compete with the Google, Facebook, and Amazon triad because only they have the computing power necessary to crunch all the data, and they are the only ones who have collected all the data to crunch. While right now, the latter may be true, I am pretty sure computing power will continue to get cheaper and more accessible. Perhaps companies will form data conglomerates to pool their data for better leverage. I believe a lot of this data is already available for sale, so not sure it's as proprietary as Foer implies.

However, I loved the way Foer makes his case. The book is filled with passages that make you think and interwoven with historical comparisons that provide context. He strikes me as pretty biased in his thought process (the guy was an editor), but if you take it as a long opinion piece, it's a good read.


message 2: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments This one sounds like great brain food. I agree - the horse is out of the gate.


Anita Pomerantz | 6304 comments Susie wrote: "This one sounds like great brain food. I agree - the horse is out of the gate."

I really did find it interesting . . .but I was an economics major and am generally interested in the topic.


message 4: by Karin (new) - added it

Karin | 6930 comments This topic is interesting, but I have NO faith that government can or will do anything about it. The horse is out of the barn, of course, and like most of history, most people will go with the flow and use it (I use it to some degree myself), some more than others.

It sounds interesting, though, and I am going to put it on my tbr.


message 5: by Denizen (new)

Denizen (den13) | 1138 comments I am constantly amazed at how often I make a decision to sell (or not) my privacy for change. Anonymous coupons are a thing of the past. Then I realize I'm giving it away for a like on FB.


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