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Excellent overview of Rheingold's work
on September 30, 2012
I've been following Howard Rheingold on Twitter and through his website for a while now. This short (62 pages), Ted book provides an accessible overview of some of Rheingold's key ideas. The book begins with a brief historical account of humans' relationship with tools (from thought and language, to the alphabet, to the printing press) and makes the argument that because of the unique capabilities of the human brain, humans co-evolve with their tools. Drawing on research conducted from a variety of disciplines (physics, mathematics, psychology, artificial intelligence, etc.), Rheingold provides a framework for thinking about how we might best harness current digital tools to work collectively to solve the many problems we face. What I like most about Rheingold is that he never sugar coats the digital revolution; he acknowledges that technologies have been used in destructive ways, yet he remains optimistic that by emphasizing mindfulness, compassion, and empathy, digital tools can transform our lives.