What Technology Wants PDF Ú What Technology Epub /

What Technology Wants PDF Ú What Technology Epub /

What Technology Wants ✈ [PDF / Epub] ✅ What Technology Wants By Kevin Kelly ✸ – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Verbalizing visceral feelings about technology whether attraction or repulsion Kelly explores the “technium” his term for the globalized interconnected stage of technological development Arguing t Verbalizing visceral feelings about technology whether attraction or repulsion Kelly explores the “technium” his term for the globalized interconnected stage of technological development Arguing that the processes creating the technium are akin to those of biological evolution Kelly devotes the opening sections of his exposition to that analogy maintaining that the technium exhibits a similar tendency toward self organizing complexity Having defined the technium Kelly addresses its discontents What Technology Epub / as expressed by the Unabomber although Kelly admits to trepidation in taking seriously the antitechnology screeds of a murderer and then as lived by the allegedly technophobic Amish From his observations and discussions with some Amish people Kelly extracts some precepts of their attitudes toward gadgets suggesting folk in the secular world can benefit from the Amish approach of treating tools as servants of self and society rather than as out of control masters Exploring ramifications of technology on human welfare and achievement Kelly arrives at an optimistic outlook that will interest many coming as it does from the former editor of Wired magazineGilbert Taylor Booklist.


10 thoughts on “What Technology Wants

  1. Dan Dan says:

    In ‘What Technology Wants’ Kelly makes the case that the grand sweep of and direction of technology which he terms the technium shares parallels with evolutionary principles He uses this analogy to suggest that there are universal laws that dictate the trajectory of technology and push it towards a predetermined goal what technology ‘wants’ to achieve Along the way he paints a very happy picture of the thrust of technology – postulating that it will become ever complex beautiful free sentient integrated and will inevitably rise above the petty concerns of its primate origins – becoming the most enlightened of the “7 kingdoms of evolved organisms”I immediately took issue with this book Not because the beginning is slow and dry as others have rightly pointed out – to setup his argument Kelly bafflingly appears to have concluded that he must start with the The Big Bang Instead it is the frenetic approach that Kelly brings to his ‘reasonings’ which consist mostly of leaping wildly between subjects with impressive sounding sound bites More than once his factoid barrage approach left me feeling as though I were reading the back of a cereal box instead of a structured argument His constant use fact tidbits was distracting and worse abstracting since it was freuently impossible to figure out why a piece of information was included Unfortunately it was only to get far worse when Kelly actually got to the meat of his argument nearly 100 pages in Kelly discusses at length his concept of why the ‘technicum’ should be considered to be like the 7th Kingdom of organisms While the comparison is cute and can lead to some fun and even thought provoking analogies Kelly takes this argument seriously This is a shame because not only is the analogy a rather weak one eg the environment of human culture and ideas that would provide the selective pressure for technology bears little resemblance to the actual environment of physics and predators but Kelly displays a thoroughly shallow understanding of biological evolution in this book So the evolutionary arguments that Kelly presents to indicate that the technicum is ‘destined towards greatness’ are doubly flawed Which is too bad because the remaining 200 pages of the book are entirely based on reusing this analogyComplement sandwich time The reader does at least get a well deserved break when they stumble upon Chapter 11 Lessons of Amish Hackers This chapter is genuinely interesting insightful and novel – so much so that I read it aloud to my friends Nevermind for a moment that the main take home message from this chapter seems to be that one is shrewd to be extremely wary of technology and adopt it only after decades of carefully observing its’ effects on your ‘guinea pig’ neighbors which runs oddly counter to the ebullience for technology that Kelly displays in most of the rest of the book This chapter gave me a new understanding and respect for the Amish culture and was not at all what I expected to find buried halfway through the tomeAll good things must come to an end though Pushing onward the reader is tossed back into the cesspool of shallow thinking and Pollyanna on Christmas sugar high wishfulness that defines the work Reading this book had the counterintuitive effect of making me wary of technology as it made me realize that people like Jaron Lanier of ‘You Are Not a Gadget’ aren’t joking when they speak of the new generation of ‘technology as religion’ An example the whole concept of downloading one’s consciousness to a machine both promoted as possible and advocated for at various points in What Technology Wants speaks to an astounding lack of self awareness and understanding of what it is to be human So when Kelly reaches his eventual novelistic climax waxing poetic on how technology will become an all powerful God you’ll have to pardon me if my shudders are not of ecstasy from my recent conversion


  2. Marc Weidenbaum Marc Weidenbaum says:

    This is a characteristic exercise in factoid packed mega optimism by the founding editor of Wired Magazine The man whose final year of tenure as head of the magazine brought us the famous Dow 36000 article here tackles the role of technology in our lives and how technology has what is in essence a life of its own The future is just as bright according to What Technology Wants as it was in Dow 36000 but of course we know what came of that prediction I found the opening chapter to be one of the most infuriating things I've read in a long time so dense is it with anthropomorphic mental hijinks I highly recommend that if you elect to read this book you do so by starting with the chapter on how Amish tinkerers are themselves a kind of hacker culture That chapter provides a sense of grounding to the book a lens of informed skepticism that is largely lacking elsewhere It's absolutely fascinating stuff and of all the books in this book's extensive bibliography the ones on Amish life are the ones I'm most likely to read next Not out of some incipient back to the landness on my part but because if the ideas on Amish ness seem the most engaging here then perhaps the source material for them is also engagingThe book has a lot of interesting ideas but they're ideas digital sentience for example that I prefer to have filtered through consciously employed science fiction and I don't mean that as a put down; if this were all rewritten by Greg Egan I'd probably love it My second biggest issue with the book after its anthropomorphic exuberance is how Kelly shifts his depth of field in ways that support his moment by moment sense of what he is describing Toward the end for example he criticizes Wendell Berry for being stuck on the cold hard yucky stuff by which he seems to mean focusing too much on specific technological objects rather than the broad sweep of technology But Kelly himself has focuses on specifics himself throughout the book when it serves his rhetorical purpose


  3. Jane Friedman Jane Friedman says:

    This is a history and culture book as much as it's a technology or futurism book It's one of the few books I've read in the last decade that really deserved to be a BOOK—something that commands your attention and reuires immersive reading The way you see the world is likely to change by the end and if you're not already immersed in the tech industry and likely feel yourself above this book then I guarantee you'll be talking about and recommending it to others


  4. Dave Emmett Dave Emmett says:

    WowKelly builds on arguments from Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near When Humans Transcend Biology showing how technology is a continuation of biological evolution Our minds are accelerating evolution using ideas instead of genesTo me the most beautiful section of this book was the beginning of Chapter 4 which describes the history of the universe through the lens of a single atom For billions of years atoms traversed the universe in solitude never encountering anything else but the emptiness of space The history of the universe is one where atoms encounter greater and greater change from nothingness to being used in the running of a computer chip Atoms just want to have fun and technology allows them to hang out with a lot atoms and have a lot fun I'm paraphrasingBut the whole thing was amazing if you are even remotely interested in what the future entails and if you aren't you should be then you have to read this book


  5. Nick Nick says:

    Although I disagree with many of Kelly's points my main reasons for giving this book only two stars are its length was it really necessary to recap the history of the universe from the Big Bang? and Kelly's almost tautological optimism about technology He consistently dismisses or downplays criticisms and negative aspects of the evolution of technology developing from his basic premise that technology is a self sustaining and somewhat autonomous system the tautological proposition that all technology is good because it creates choices for humans Kelly asserts that all choices are good choices euating the choice among 85 different kinds of crackers in the average American supermarket with a young person's choice of vocation or the choice to use a weapons technology with the choice to use civil disobedience In the real world not all choices are morally euivalent or eually meaningful Not recommended


  6. Book Calendar Book Calendar says:

    What Technology Wants by Kevin KellyKevin Kelly views technology as a natural organic living process He calls it the technium He views it as being part of human evolution I found the ideas to be fascinating but overly anthropomorphic He gave living ualities to stone steel spoons bricks and computers There is both a humanizing and a dehumanizing aspect to this writing The humanizing aspect is a view of increased possibilities opportunities to create greater freedoms and greater choice The author shows how machines improve our lives and expand our possibilities He also includes systems of thought like science art and law as part of technology He describes how technology evolved as we evolved from the stone age to modern citiesWhere it fails and seems a bit dehumanizing is his taking a picture of nature that seems very utilitarian He describes that eventually there will be no waste with biophilic technology I think this lessens nature and makes it machine like He even claims the Amish are part of the technium because of how they use technology This was a bit far fetched to me I don't like to think of myself as evolving in a similar way to a machineThe unabomber Ted Kaczynski's anti technology views are gone into This was uite daring to do Kevin Kelly does not shy from tackling some opposing view points He even talks about primitivism This makes the book differentThere is a deeply philosophical bent to the writing I can recognize some of the philosophy Some of it is very much at the edge of high technology He seems to be trodding a slightly different path than transhumanism where the idea is that we will become than human when we integrate with machines Kevin Kelly also does not argue for the singularity where machines become smarter than humans Machines are a different kind of intelligence than human intelligence His ultimate goal is to open infinite games for people choice freedom opportunities through technologyRead this book it will open your mind to new ideas It makes you think Kevin Kelly helped launched Wired Magazine His website is The book is fairly dense reading It includes notes an annotated reading list black and white photographs charts and an index It is very much a popular science title


  7. G33z3r G33z3r says:

    A disappointing pastiche of New Age ideas layered on regurgitated Jacob Bronowski Richard Dawkins and James Burke occasionally invoking flawed logic as well The author enjoys making up new words such as technium for the aggregate of all technology currently in use as a substitute for actual insight I think the most interesting chapter by far was on Amish hackers a seemingly contradictory phrase the author invokes to describe some original research he's done interviewing various Amish on how they decide whether to use or reject a particular portion of technology Ultimately there really isn't much of a conclusion beyond think about what technology you decide to embrace but not much thought on how society as a whole can make such judgments especially since as the author points out predicting where a given technology will lead is nearly impossible


  8. Jon Jon says:

    How can a book about technology have such interesting parts about fire and agriculture and such boring parts about computers and cell phones? He's really into the Amish


  9. Nick Nick says:

    I was surprised by how much of this book I actually disliked I've been following the technium blog for a while and always remember liking it The book certainly has parts I appreciated and on the whole they probably mostly compensate for the negatives But still I think my dislike was primarily based on evidence lacking claims or things passed off too uickly as some sort of fact Trying to sound technical doesn't make something correct Graphs without axes scales don't helpp3 When the internet finally came along a few years later it seemed almost Amish to me in a good way He talks about the Amish a few times how they interact with technology and how they balance it with communityp12 what I consider to be the essential uality of the technium this idea of a self reinforcing system of creationp26 Language is a magic mirror that reveals to the mind what the mind thinks Without the cerebral structure of language we couldn't access our own mental activity dunno about this one Just because we have a language doesn't mean creatures couldn't access their mental activity without one And I don't know that language reveals what the mind thinks there's a fair amount of lying your mind doesp87 Deforestation is a minor push compared to the tractor beam like pull of the flickering lights that have brought 25 billion people into the cities in the last 60 years data to support this?108 There is an alphabet of 20 base symbols amino acids that make up every protein word which on average is say 100 symbols or 100 bases long The total number of possible proteins that evolution could generate or discover is 100^20 Now I'm no mathematician121 This was funny he talks about rewinding the tape of life's history and then has a parenthetical note describing what rewind the tape means for people who've grown up without such things Apparently the phrase is then a skeuonym146 talking about simultaneous discovery Because a lot of money swirls around Harry Potter we have discovered that strange as it sounds stories of boy wizards in magical schools with pet owls who enter their otherworlds through railway station platforms are inevitable at this point in Western culture there were apparently a few other books published recently along similar lines154 uoting a Economist report about technological leapfrogging Countries that failed to adopt old technologies are at a disadvantage when it comes to new ones this is interesting178 Last who you are in the richest sense of the word your character your spirit what you do with your life is determined by what you choose You decide whether to speak the truth at any trial even if you have a genetic or familial propensity to lie You decide whether or not to risk befriending a stranger no matter your genetic or cultural bias toward shyness You decide beyond your inherent tendencies or conditioning I guess But isn't some cognitive research about decision making a little less certain on the subject? Lower processes determine things before you're aware of the decision?233 Voluntary simplicity is a possibility an option a choice that one should experience for at least part of one's life I highly recommend elective poverty and minimalism as a fantastic education not least because it will help you sort out your technology priorities But I have observed that simplicity's fullest potential reuires that one consider minimalism one phase of many even if a recurring phase233 I am convinced that the Amish and minimites are content and satisfied as people than the rest of us fast forward urban technophiles I remember this line annoying me because I think it's too easy to think that a lot of people think like you what things like what you want233 busy page apparently I believe these two different routes for technological lifestyle either optimizing contentment or optimizing choices come down to very different ideas of what humans are to be I guess when I see optimizing choices I seem to think maximizing and that replacement bothers me because too many choices are bad see eg The Paradox of Choice236 7 I may not tweet watch TV or use a laptop but I certainly benefit from the effect of others who do In that way I am not that different from the Amish who benefit from the outsiders around them fully engaged with electricity phones and cars But unlike individuals who opt out of individual technologies Amish society indirectly constrains others as well as themselves If we apply the ubiuity test what happens if everyone does it to the Amish way the optimization of choice collapses By constraining the suite of acceptable occupations and narrowing education the Amish are holding back possibilities not just for their children by indirectly for all238 I owe the Amish hackers a large debt because through their lives I now see the technium's dilemma very clearly To maximize our own contentment we seek the minimum amount of technology in our lives Yet to maximize the contentment of others we must maximize the amount of technology in the world Indeed we can only find our own minimal tools if others have created a sufficient maximum pool of options we can choose from The dilemma remains in how we can personally minimize stuff close to us while trying to expand it globally252 In short crucial second order effects are absent from small precise experiments and sincere simulations of new technologies and so an emerging technology must be tested in action and evaluated in real time In other words the risks of a particular technology have to be determined by trial and error in real life263 However the proper response to a lousy idea is not to stop thinking It is to come up with a better idea Indeed we should prefer a bad idea to no ideas at all because a bad idea can at least be reformed while not thinking offers no hope291 Technologies have asocial dimension beyond their mere mechanical performance We adopt new technologies largely because of what they do for us but also in part because of what they mean to us Often we refuse to adopt technology for the same reason because of how the avoidance reinforces or shapes our identity299 The first few cameras were a novelty their impact was primarily to fire painters from the job of recording the times But as photography became easier to use common cameras led to intense photojournalism a and eventually they hatched movies and Hollywood alternatives realities The diffusion of cameras cheap enough that every family had one in turn fed tourism globalism and international travel The further diffusion of cameras into cell phones and digital devices birthed a universal sharing of images the conviction that something is not real until it is captured on camera and a sense that there is no significance outside of the camera view310 Whenever you send an e mail invisible fancy algorithms on data servers decide the path your message will hop along in the global network in order to arrive with minimal congestion and maximum speed uantum choice probably does not play a role in these choices Rather a billion interacting deterministic factors influence it Because unraveling these factors is an intractable problem these choices are in practice free will decisions of the network and the internet is making billions of them every day this one bothered me I'm not physicist but uantum effects have to bubble up to everything else right? While we don't understand them it doesn't mean they don't play a role in macro scale happenings And that last sentence really gets me This problem's really hard so we'll call it free will F that311 317 I think I did like most of this section on mutualism Co dependence working together313 Somehow being totally dependent on technology to add and subtract doesn't spook us but being dependent on the web to remember facts sometimes does327 A slime mold colony can solve the shortest distance to food in a maze much like a rat looking up videos now348 How can technology make a person better? Only in this way by providing each person with chances A chance to excel at the uniue mixture of talents he or she was born with a chance to encounter new ideas and new minds a chance to be different from his or her parents a chance to create something his or her own351 A world with opportunities produces people capable of producing yet opportunities


  10. Sintija Plāce Sintija Plāce says:

    Just started to read it yesterday So many good insights into history of technology how it makes us human and how human in fact is being used by technology actually vice versa Each new innovation comes only when there is an appropriate environment proper tools and base of ideas that guides birth of new technology For Kelly each technology is like a species that instead of expressing the work of genes expresses ideas These species follow evolution growth some species die become obsolescent just like nature we know I am already acuainted by ideas of McLuhan and Koert van Mensvort Next Nature this book is like a match that sets on fire new perception Technium as the evolutionary organism that is physical extension of human mind Technium and humankind both depend on each other co evolutionary relations


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10 thoughts on “What Technology Wants

  1. Dan Dan says:

    In ‘What Technology Wants’ Kelly makes the case that the grand sweep of and direction of technology which he terms the technium shares parallels with evolutionary principles He uses this analogy to suggest that there are universal laws that dictate the trajectory of technology and push it towards a predetermined goal what technology ‘wants’ to achieve Along the way he paints a very happy picture of the thrust of technology – postulating that it will become ever complex beautiful free sentient integrated and will inevitably rise above the petty concerns of its primate origins – becoming the most enlightened of the “7 kingdoms of evolved organisms”I immediately took issue with this book Not because the beginning is slow and dry as others have rightly pointed out – to setup his argument Kelly bafflingly appears to have concluded that he must start with the The Big Bang Instead it is the frenetic approach that Kelly brings to his ‘reasonings’ which consist mostly of leaping wildly between subjects with impressive sounding sound bites More than once his factoid barrage approach left me feeling as though I were reading the back of a cereal box instead of a structured argument His constant use fact tidbits was distracting and worse abstracting since it was freuently impossible to figure out why a piece of information was included Unfortunately it was only to get far worse when Kelly actually got to the meat of his argument nearly 100 pages in Kelly discusses at length his concept of why the ‘technicum’ should be considered to be like the 7th Kingdom of organisms While the comparison is cute and can lead to some fun and even thought provoking analogies Kelly takes this argument seriously This is a shame because not only is the analogy a rather weak one eg the environment of human culture and ideas that would provide the selective pressure for technology bears little resemblance to the actual environment of physics and predators but Kelly displays a thoroughly shallow understanding of biological evolution in this book So the evolutionary arguments that Kelly presents to indicate that the technicum is ‘destined towards greatness’ are doubly flawed Which is too bad because the remaining 200 pages of the book are entirely based on reusing this analogyComplement sandwich time The reader does at least get a well deserved break when they stumble upon Chapter 11 Lessons of Amish Hackers This chapter is genuinely interesting insightful and novel – so much so that I read it aloud to my friends Nevermind for a moment that the main take home message from this chapter seems to be that one is shrewd to be extremely wary of technology and adopt it only after decades of carefully observing its’ effects on your ‘guinea pig’ neighbors which runs oddly counter to the ebullience for technology that Kelly displays in most of the rest of the book This chapter gave me a new understanding and respect for the Amish culture and was not at all what I expected to find buried halfway through the tomeAll good things must come to an end though Pushing onward the reader is tossed back into the cesspool of shallow thinking and Pollyanna on Christmas sugar high wishfulness that defines the work Reading this book had the counterintuitive effect of making me wary of technology as it made me realize that people like Jaron Lanier of ‘You Are Not a Gadget’ aren’t joking when they speak of the new generation of ‘technology as religion’ An example the whole concept of downloading one’s consciousness to a machine both promoted as possible and advocated for at various points in What Technology Wants speaks to an astounding lack of self awareness and understanding of what it is to be human So when Kelly reaches his eventual novelistic climax waxing poetic on how technology will become an all powerful God you’ll have to pardon me if my shudders are not of ecstasy from my recent conversion

  2. Marc Weidenbaum Marc Weidenbaum says:

    This is a characteristic exercise in factoid packed mega optimism by the founding editor of Wired Magazine The man whose final year of tenure as head of the magazine brought us the famous Dow 36000 article here tackles the role of technology in our lives and how technology has what is in essence a life of its own The future is just as bright according to What Technology Wants as it was in Dow 36000 but of course we know what came of that prediction I found the opening chapter to be one of the most infuriating things I've read in a long time so dense is it with anthropomorphic mental hijinks I highly recommend that if you elect to read this book you do so by starting with the chapter on how Amish tinkerers are themselves a kind of hacker culture That chapter provides a sense of grounding to the book a lens of informed skepticism that is largely lacking elsewhere It's absolutely fascinating stuff and of all the books in this book's extensive bibliography the ones on Amish life are the ones I'm most likely to read next Not out of some incipient back to the landness on my part but because if the ideas on Amish ness seem the most engaging here then perhaps the source material for them is also engagingThe book has a lot of interesting ideas but they're ideas digital sentience for example that I prefer to have filtered through consciously employed science fiction and I don't mean that as a put down; if this were all rewritten by Greg Egan I'd probably love it My second biggest issue with the book after its anthropomorphic exuberance is how Kelly shifts his depth of field in ways that support his moment by moment sense of what he is describing Toward the end for example he criticizes Wendell Berry for being stuck on the cold hard yucky stuff by which he seems to mean focusing too much on specific technological objects rather than the broad sweep of technology But Kelly himself has focuses on specifics himself throughout the book when it serves his rhetorical purpose

  3. Jane Friedman Jane Friedman says:

    This is a history and culture book as much as it's a technology or futurism book It's one of the few books I've read in the last decade that really deserved to be a BOOK—something that commands your attention and reuires immersive reading The way you see the world is likely to change by the end and if you're not already immersed in the tech industry and likely feel yourself above this book then I guarantee you'll be talking about and recommending it to others

  4. Dave Emmett Dave Emmett says:

    WowKelly builds on arguments from Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near When Humans Transcend Biology showing how technology is a continuation of biological evolution Our minds are accelerating evolution using ideas instead of genesTo me the most beautiful section of this book was the beginning of Chapter 4 which describes the history of the universe through the lens of a single atom For billions of years atoms traversed the universe in solitude never encountering anything else but the emptiness of space The history of the universe is one where atoms encounter greater and greater change from nothingness to being used in the running of a computer chip Atoms just want to have fun and technology allows them to hang out with a lot atoms and have a lot fun I'm paraphrasingBut the whole thing was amazing if you are even remotely interested in what the future entails and if you aren't you should be then you have to read this book

  5. Nick Nick says:

    Although I disagree with many of Kelly's points my main reasons for giving this book only two stars are its length was it really necessary to recap the history of the universe from the Big Bang? and Kelly's almost tautological optimism about technology He consistently dismisses or downplays criticisms and negative aspects of the evolution of technology developing from his basic premise that technology is a self sustaining and somewhat autonomous system the tautological proposition that all technology is good because it creates choices for humans Kelly asserts that all choices are good choices euating the choice among 85 different kinds of crackers in the average American supermarket with a young person's choice of vocation or the choice to use a weapons technology with the choice to use civil disobedience In the real world not all choices are morally euivalent or eually meaningful Not recommended

  6. Book Calendar Book Calendar says:

    What Technology Wants by Kevin KellyKevin Kelly views technology as a natural organic living process He calls it the technium He views it as being part of human evolution I found the ideas to be fascinating but overly anthropomorphic He gave living ualities to stone steel spoons bricks and computers There is both a humanizing and a dehumanizing aspect to this writing The humanizing aspect is a view of increased possibilities opportunities to create greater freedoms and greater choice The author shows how machines improve our lives and expand our possibilities He also includes systems of thought like science art and law as part of technology He describes how technology evolved as we evolved from the stone age to modern citiesWhere it fails and seems a bit dehumanizing is his taking a picture of nature that seems very utilitarian He describes that eventually there will be no waste with biophilic technology I think this lessens nature and makes it machine like He even claims the Amish are part of the technium because of how they use technology This was a bit far fetched to me I don't like to think of myself as evolving in a similar way to a machineThe unabomber Ted Kaczynski's anti technology views are gone into This was uite daring to do Kevin Kelly does not shy from tackling some opposing view points He even talks about primitivism This makes the book differentThere is a deeply philosophical bent to the writing I can recognize some of the philosophy Some of it is very much at the edge of high technology He seems to be trodding a slightly different path than transhumanism where the idea is that we will become than human when we integrate with machines Kevin Kelly also does not argue for the singularity where machines become smarter than humans Machines are a different kind of intelligence than human intelligence His ultimate goal is to open infinite games for people choice freedom opportunities through technologyRead this book it will open your mind to new ideas It makes you think Kevin Kelly helped launched Wired Magazine His website is The book is fairly dense reading It includes notes an annotated reading list black and white photographs charts and an index It is very much a popular science title

  7. G33z3r G33z3r says:

    A disappointing pastiche of New Age ideas layered on regurgitated Jacob Bronowski Richard Dawkins and James Burke occasionally invoking flawed logic as well The author enjoys making up new words such as technium for the aggregate of all technology currently in use as a substitute for actual insight I think the most interesting chapter by far was on Amish hackers a seemingly contradictory phrase the author invokes to describe some original research he's done interviewing various Amish on how they decide whether to use or reject a particular portion of technology Ultimately there really isn't much of a conclusion beyond think about what technology you decide to embrace but not much thought on how society as a whole can make such judgments especially since as the author points out predicting where a given technology will lead is nearly impossible

  8. Jon Jon says:

    How can a book about technology have such interesting parts about fire and agriculture and such boring parts about computers and cell phones? He's really into the Amish

  9. Nick Nick says:

    I was surprised by how much of this book I actually disliked I've been following the technium blog for a while and always remember liking it The book certainly has parts I appreciated and on the whole they probably mostly compensate for the negatives But still I think my dislike was primarily based on evidence lacking claims or things passed off too uickly as some sort of fact Trying to sound technical doesn't make something correct Graphs without axes scales don't helpp3 When the internet finally came along a few years later it seemed almost Amish to me in a good way He talks about the Amish a few times how they interact with technology and how they balance it with communityp12 what I consider to be the essential uality of the technium this idea of a self reinforcing system of creationp26 Language is a magic mirror that reveals to the mind what the mind thinks Without the cerebral structure of language we couldn't access our own mental activity dunno about this one Just because we have a language doesn't mean creatures couldn't access their mental activity without one And I don't know that language reveals what the mind thinks there's a fair amount of lying your mind doesp87 Deforestation is a minor push compared to the tractor beam like pull of the flickering lights that have brought 25 billion people into the cities in the last 60 years data to support this?108 There is an alphabet of 20 base symbols amino acids that make up every protein word which on average is say 100 symbols or 100 bases long The total number of possible proteins that evolution could generate or discover is 100^20 Now I'm no mathematician121 This was funny he talks about rewinding the tape of life's history and then has a parenthetical note describing what rewind the tape means for people who've grown up without such things Apparently the phrase is then a skeuonym146 talking about simultaneous discovery Because a lot of money swirls around Harry Potter we have discovered that strange as it sounds stories of boy wizards in magical schools with pet owls who enter their otherworlds through railway station platforms are inevitable at this point in Western culture there were apparently a few other books published recently along similar lines154 uoting a Economist report about technological leapfrogging Countries that failed to adopt old technologies are at a disadvantage when it comes to new ones this is interesting178 Last who you are in the richest sense of the word your character your spirit what you do with your life is determined by what you choose You decide whether to speak the truth at any trial even if you have a genetic or familial propensity to lie You decide whether or not to risk befriending a stranger no matter your genetic or cultural bias toward shyness You decide beyond your inherent tendencies or conditioning I guess But isn't some cognitive research about decision making a little less certain on the subject? Lower processes determine things before you're aware of the decision?233 Voluntary simplicity is a possibility an option a choice that one should experience for at least part of one's life I highly recommend elective poverty and minimalism as a fantastic education not least because it will help you sort out your technology priorities But I have observed that simplicity's fullest potential reuires that one consider minimalism one phase of many even if a recurring phase233 I am convinced that the Amish and minimites are content and satisfied as people than the rest of us fast forward urban technophiles I remember this line annoying me because I think it's too easy to think that a lot of people think like you what things like what you want233 busy page apparently I believe these two different routes for technological lifestyle either optimizing contentment or optimizing choices come down to very different ideas of what humans are to be I guess when I see optimizing choices I seem to think maximizing and that replacement bothers me because too many choices are bad see eg The Paradox of Choice236 7 I may not tweet watch TV or use a laptop but I certainly benefit from the effect of others who do In that way I am not that different from the Amish who benefit from the outsiders around them fully engaged with electricity phones and cars But unlike individuals who opt out of individual technologies Amish society indirectly constrains others as well as themselves If we apply the ubiuity test what happens if everyone does it to the Amish way the optimization of choice collapses By constraining the suite of acceptable occupations and narrowing education the Amish are holding back possibilities not just for their children by indirectly for all238 I owe the Amish hackers a large debt because through their lives I now see the technium's dilemma very clearly To maximize our own contentment we seek the minimum amount of technology in our lives Yet to maximize the contentment of others we must maximize the amount of technology in the world Indeed we can only find our own minimal tools if others have created a sufficient maximum pool of options we can choose from The dilemma remains in how we can personally minimize stuff close to us while trying to expand it globally252 In short crucial second order effects are absent from small precise experiments and sincere simulations of new technologies and so an emerging technology must be tested in action and evaluated in real time In other words the risks of a particular technology have to be determined by trial and error in real life263 However the proper response to a lousy idea is not to stop thinking It is to come up with a better idea Indeed we should prefer a bad idea to no ideas at all because a bad idea can at least be reformed while not thinking offers no hope291 Technologies have asocial dimension beyond their mere mechanical performance We adopt new technologies largely because of what they do for us but also in part because of what they mean to us Often we refuse to adopt technology for the same reason because of how the avoidance reinforces or shapes our identity299 The first few cameras were a novelty their impact was primarily to fire painters from the job of recording the times But as photography became easier to use common cameras led to intense photojournalism a and eventually they hatched movies and Hollywood alternatives realities The diffusion of cameras cheap enough that every family had one in turn fed tourism globalism and international travel The further diffusion of cameras into cell phones and digital devices birthed a universal sharing of images the conviction that something is not real until it is captured on camera and a sense that there is no significance outside of the camera view310 Whenever you send an e mail invisible fancy algorithms on data servers decide the path your message will hop along in the global network in order to arrive with minimal congestion and maximum speed uantum choice probably does not play a role in these choices Rather a billion interacting deterministic factors influence it Because unraveling these factors is an intractable problem these choices are in practice free will decisions of the network and the internet is making billions of them every day this one bothered me I'm not physicist but uantum effects have to bubble up to everything else right? While we don't understand them it doesn't mean they don't play a role in macro scale happenings And that last sentence really gets me This problem's really hard so we'll call it free will F that311 317 I think I did like most of this section on mutualism Co dependence working together313 Somehow being totally dependent on technology to add and subtract doesn't spook us but being dependent on the web to remember facts sometimes does327 A slime mold colony can solve the shortest distance to food in a maze much like a rat looking up videos now348 How can technology make a person better? Only in this way by providing each person with chances A chance to excel at the uniue mixture of talents he or she was born with a chance to encounter new ideas and new minds a chance to be different from his or her parents a chance to create something his or her own351 A world with opportunities produces people capable of producing yet opportunities

  10. Sintija Plāce Sintija Plāce says:

    Just started to read it yesterday So many good insights into history of technology how it makes us human and how human in fact is being used by technology actually vice versa Each new innovation comes only when there is an appropriate environment proper tools and base of ideas that guides birth of new technology For Kelly each technology is like a species that instead of expressing the work of genes expresses ideas These species follow evolution growth some species die become obsolescent just like nature we know I am already acuainted by ideas of McLuhan and Koert van Mensvort Next Nature this book is like a match that sets on fire new perception Technium as the evolutionary organism that is physical extension of human mind Technium and humankind both depend on each other co evolutionary relations

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