Utopia Is Creepy

Utopia Is Creepy

And Other Provocations

Book - 2016 | First edition.
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"A freewheeling, sharp-shooting indictment of our tech-besotted culture by the Pulitzer Prize finalist. Over the past dozen years, Nicholas Carr has made his name as an agenda-setting writer on our complicated relationship with technology. Gathering posts from his blog Rough Type as well as seminal pieces published in The Atlantic, the MIT Technology Review, and the Wall Street Journal, he now provides an alternative history of the digital age, chronicling its roller-coaster crazes and crashes (remember MySpace or Second Life?). Ground-breaking essays such as 'Is Google Making Us Stupid?' and 'Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Privacy' dissect the logic behind Silicon Valley's 'liberation mythology,' laying bare how technology has both enriched and imprisoned us-- sometimes at the same time. A forward-looking new essay rounds out the collection. With searching assessments of topics from the future of work and play to free choice and the fate of reading, Carr once again challenges us to see our world anew"--Provided by publisher.

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dennismmiller
Jan 21, 2017

The promise of the Digital Age, restated again and again, is the liberation of the individual human being from economics, politics, and even matter itself. Yet according to Nicholas Carr the reality is "not transcendence but withdrawal", a liberation from society that leaves the individual isolated, trapped in a solipsistic hall of mirrors. Utopia Is Creepy collects the best of Carr's RoughType blog as well as some aphoristic tweets and longer pieces.

Instead of a world in which economics have been transcended, Carr foresees a world in which every human interaction has been commodified, and every experience manufactured. The difference between the resulting artificial culture and the old organic culture is analogous to the difference between learning to play a guitar and learning to play Guitar Hero. Correspondingly, politics are impoverished as the soundbite gives way to the tweet, knowledge as the trivial becomes more and more indistinguishable from the profound, and humanity as personality is reduced to a data set.

Carr is no Luddite - to the contrary, he is very aware of the positive benefits of new technologies, but he is also aware of their limitations, and the limitations of the men who make them. More importantly, he is conscious of their power to change our perceptions of ourselves and our relationships to others in unexpected ways. The book has the flaws to be expected of any collection of blog posts - not only are some no longer topical, the reader may sometimes wish that Carr would elaborate on a point or draw out the consequences of his conclusions, only to be frustrated by the concessions to digital attention spans. Yet the short pieces on diverse topics also provide an ideal vehicle for Carr's combination of insight and humor, which in turn makes Utopia Is Creepy pleasurable as well as provocative.

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StarGladiator
Sep 24, 2016

Although I haven't yet read this entire book, I have perused some of the columns by the author and feel he has much of importance to reflect upon.
He reminds me of those who believed their expertise endowed them with control, only to be laid off and see their jobs offshored, or laid off and ordered to train their foreign visa replacements or else lose their severance pay and hope for a reference, et cetera.
His previous two books were also thought-provoking.
The Panopticon was devised by a mad man who believed little kids [as young as 3-years of age] should be raised as laborers from birth, and bred in captivity! More advanced ways to displace people, while ensuring forced organ harvesting - - is not progress!

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