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The high cost of high tech: The dark side of the chip Paperback – January 1, 1985

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row; 1st edition (1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006039045X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060390457
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,213,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two recognized authorities on the booming world of high tech put their years of Silicon Valley surveillance on the line in this informative, sometimes eye-opening evaluation of the computer revolution. Markoff is the San Francisco Examiner's Silicon Valley reporter; Siegel, a crusader for Silicon Valley safety and health standards, has been described as the Valley's "resident gadfly." Here they produce an expose of the perils, present and potential, in the burgeoning Age of the Chipan expose so informed, restrained and evenhanded that it attains a powerful credibility. They range through quietly horrific descriptions of the electronic arms-race under way; discussions of the negative impact of data banks on our privacy, of computer learning on education, of industrial wipeouts and job losses. Their revelations about the immense toxicity associated with the "clean" high-tech industry will shock readers. A view of America at bay in a worldwide race for high-tech supremacy caps the book. November 6
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Siegal and Markoff provide a grim picture of the costs incurred to date in the development of the current state of computer-based information technology. The pollution of the Silicon Valley, the exploitation of the minority groups used to assemble computer chips, the monopolization of technology direction and utilization by the military, and numerous other problems are dealt with at length. The book portrays most of the history of the technology in a negative light but the authors do not feel the situation is hopeless. Rather, while "the social costs of the continuing spread and evolution of high technology are great, . . . they are by no means inevitable." However, the authors caution, to reap the full benefits of information technology, our society in general must develop an understanding of the impact and potential, positive and negative, of computers and microelectronics. Hilary D. Burton, Livermore National Labs., Livermore, Cal.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Teddy Dover on October 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is rated as a 5 for the content and the issues it brings up, not it's readability. This is not the best book John Markoff has contributed; many of his other books are much better. The other author, a self-acclaimed tree-hugger trained in the atmosphere of 1960's and early 1970's counter-culture of the San Francisco Bay Area, appears to lead the book's agenda and discusses many of his activist ideas.

The first hundred or so pages reveal the very liberal, anti-government, anti-technology and anti-military agenda. Along with the social agenda there are many warnings and cautionary notes about how technology can lead to a police state (Big Brother), infringed liberties, and world-wide holocaust due to military or political mistakes.

After the agenda and warnings, the authors get down to the nuts and bolts that I expected from the book. The book discusses the pollution caused by the semiconductor and electronic industry in the Santa Clara Valley. It also discusses the decline back in the 1980s of the standard of living for many working in the valley due to road congestion, housing costs and pollution induced clusters of illness and death. The authors do not use the word exploit but it describes this by discussing the relatively low wages the assembly end of the industry in the valley and especially in the Third World countries that much of the work is exported to before the product is returned to the United States, and this is the taking advantage of minority women in general.

Being one who does not generally agree with the liberal basis, this book is a must read for those trying to understand the basics of the complex nature of the semiconductor industry. The rise of the Silicon Valley and the wealth it has generated is an intriguing historical fact.
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