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The Control Revolution: How the Internet is Putting Individuals in Charge and Changing the World We Know 2nd.Printing Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1891620867
ISBN-10: 189162086X
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Where do you want to go today? This slogan/mantra is the centerpiece of a Microsoft advertising campaign and the central dilemma of our times, says technorealist Andrew L. Shapiro in The Control Revolution, a warning of the potentially dismal consequences of the uninhibited personalization afforded by the Internet. By putting individuals in charge of their own information gathering, Shapiro suggests that we might find ourselves imprisoned within our increasingly narrow choices or "oversteering" into a corporate-controlled Net environment not unlike network television. His aim is to alert us to the problems and help us steer a middle course to fully realize the benefits of worldwide networking.

What will happen to encryption, copyright, and free speech in our brave new world? How can we seize the power of unrestricted choice without giving in to the temptation of ignoring diverse opinions? How will governmental and business authorities respond to these threats to their power? Shapiro addresses these questions and others forcefully and eloquently, offering prescriptions for thoughtful leaders such as limiting certain intellectual property rights to free the market for new operating systems and creating incentives for virtual "public squares" where everyone can have their 15 nanominutes of fame. Thoughtful, entertaining, and substantial, The Control Revolution is essential reading for those charged with creating the future. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Noting that the Internet is reshaping society and giving the individual unprecedented power, Shapiro, a Nation contributing editor, lawyer and director of the Aspen Institute Internet Policy Project, offers a sophisticated look at the Net and the ramifications of its current and potential uses. When the first graphical browsers came on the scene and made the Web accessible to anyone with a PC, optimists trumpeted the arrival of an era in which power would flow back to individuals after years of residing with corporations and institutions. Five years later, Shapiro sees that libertarian promise coming to fruition in many ways: day traders are bypassing stockbrokers; persons living under repressive regimes are using the Web to circumvent the Big Lie of state-controlled media; musicians and wordsmiths are self-publishing on the Web. Shapiro celebrates these freedoms, but his book is much more than a breathless booster's vision of digital utopia. Governments and corporations, he notes, are already striking back, and he documents some of the most egregious examples of censorship and attempts by companies to get a choke hold on Net technologies. And, most honestly, he addresses how too much digital autonomy might be harmful to civil society, in his critiques of "The Drudge Factor" (unaccountable pseudojournalism), "friction-free capitalism" (digital commerce freed from the restraints of taxation and regulation) and "push-button politics" (direct, electronic voting by citizens on matters currently decided by elected officials or appointed professionals). With scrupulous documentation and a knowledgeable but unpatronizing tone, Shapiro delivers a penetrating analysis of both the promise and peril of the digital future. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 2nd.Printing edition (May 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189162086X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891620867
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,600,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Control Revolution By Andrew Shapiro
The information revolution, brought on by the introduction of the computer, has created tremendous changes to the way information is now receive and sent. If one remembers the impact and the changes in life style brought on first by the radio and followed by the television, one only has to marvel that in just 5 years the effects that the explosion of the Internet has had on the World today. In these last five years, with technology the driving force, the Internet has changed the way governments, business, commerce and educational systems perform. In 19997, President Clinton stated, "It will literally be possible to start a company tomorrow, and next week do business in Japan, Germany and Chile, all without living your home, something that used to take years and years to do. Mr. Shapiro book provides many major areas already impacted stating that there are more than 100 on line brokerage service servicing over 10 million investors. In essence, the day traders are replacing the middlemen. The Internet potential has expanded into every form of communications. Newspapers will be read in different languages, in different countries as soon as they are posted. Instead of waiting for news to be written and printed; those on the Internet will communicate directly to those at the site of, whether it be a natural disaster a revolution or a late breaking story. Mr. Shapiro also strongly cautions users of the Internet the need to demonstrate the capacity for being responsible if users expect governments to accept the individuals right to use the Internet without intervention.
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Format: Hardcover
Being in the industry (Director of Technology at an Internet start-up) and thinking about the impact of the Internet every day, I wouldn't say that I've learned anything terribly new reading this book. On the other hand, I think some of the subtleties in the thesis are quite original. Many technicians in the industry will be amazed with the social, political and economic implications of what they are doing. And if you are NOT in the industry, you will find it VERY interesting.
I really like the overall organization and I find the step-by-step logic very tight, thorough and compelling. Finally, the research Andrew Shapiro has done is wonderful. This is not just breathless techno-hype or theoretical b-shcool drivel; this is real historical literature rich with detail, supporting arguments and rich sources.
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Format: Hardcover
If Andrew L. Shapiro's postulation is correct, the rise of the Internet will herald a decline in centralized power and a parallel rise in democratization within the United States and the World Community. Heretofore the exclusive prerogative and the domain of news agencies, publication moguls, politicians and governments, control of information and its use as a tool for control is waning. As the Internet, especially in its more commonly known interface of the World Wide Web, wires our lives and we become more accustomed to its presence, Shapiro presents us with a compelling argument that brings forward ghosts of Rousseau's "The Social Contract" in a newly packaged, computer-esk mantra.
Shapiro produces a compelling argument for the increased democratization of society in the emerging computer and information era. Examining the social, political and economic realms, he highlights the various practices, policies and trends that are providing these arenas with form and content. Addressing a general audience, Shapiro delves away from techno-jargon or legalize that tend to cloud the issues at hand. Relying instead on clear examples in a concise writing fashion, Shapiro positions himself into a controversial position between futurist and alarmist.
Of the myriad of arguments he presents, his discussion on the impact personalization will have on society especially is both exciting and frightening. Increasingly we are witnessing a personalization revolution in all aspects of computer related interfaces. From e-commerce to the "My Computer/My Documents/My Music" icons in Microsoft, delivering individuality to millions is big business and profit share.
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Format: Paperback
It is nice, finally, to read an intelligent book about the Internet - one that is neither overly celebratory nor overly gloomy. Most books written about the 'Net are overly positive, painting the kind of unrealistic picture of the future that one associates with the Worlds Fair of 1939, which, among other things, portrayed the City of the Future as blessedly free of traffic jams. Whoops! That sure didn't happen!
Shapiro uses the term "over-steer" to describe how the 'Net and all its benefits might bring unintended consequences. For example, the 'Net eliminates the middleman, but maybe the middleman offers value that will be sorely missed. The 'Net allows us to personalize information, but maybe an over-personalized world will cut us off from the marvels and pleasures of serendipity - in other words, if we only read the news we want, we might miss something vitally important (I think this is unlikely. Anyone with one molecule of curiousity in their brains will experience mountains of interesting information on the Interent 'by accident.')
Hats off to Shapiro for thinking this technology through. This book is recommended for people who always have second thoughts.
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