What Technology Wants Kindle Edition
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Technology or "technium" is not seen as similar to natural evolution but as the next phase of a wider evolutionary process. Some parts could remind of "I Robot" by Asimov but the general idea is:
Phase 1: Evolutionary process has its specific features and can be seen everywhere.
Phase 2: "Technium" is starting the same process through man-made artifacts and ideas.
Phase 3: "Technium" is not starting a new process. Instead, it is the continuation of the same process.
Phase 4: What can be said about the future?
Perhaps the main advice for a potential reader should be an unfair one: Keep trying. It is unfair since a bad book does not deserve to be finished and this one could be seen in some parts as a bad book that already made its whole point. Not true. For instance, the chapter devoted to the Amish could be boring for many people (including me) but, after that one, it is possible to find others much more interesting.
Paradoxes like the one shown with electric engines, present everywhere just before dissappearing (because we are not even conscious of how many common devices are powered by electric engines) are very interesting. It is worth to read it.
I have long been interested in the future of humanity, and how technology has shaped our culture and identity. I've read just about everything I can get my hands on from Heidegger to Kurzweil. Kevin Kelly's newest effort sets itself apart from the crowd with its unique mix of tremendous scope and very human narrative. The book has extraordinary ambition but is undertaken with incredible humility.
It's a true pleasure to read and I believe Kelly has added something important to the conversation concerning technology.
His central premise is that technology is an extension of biological evolution. He is one of the few to talk concretely (and offers examples) of the ways in which we can resist, shape, and work with technology. He is also clear about the ways in which it's progress will be inevitable. Kelly is pioneering speaking of technology as a natural extension of biological technology, and I think in the future this will be the dominant way to talk about tech, not technology vs. biology but biology as technology. As we continue to reveal the incomprehensibility of the two-- and as we consciously merge the two-- we'll need leaders like Kelly to show us the blind corners in the road in our inevitable march towards increased diversity and new forms of technology.
This book is nothing short of thrilling to read, and I'm sorry to have finished it.
Not that the author is wrong - I fully agree with most of it. I do have a serious problem with his personification of technology - starting with the title itself. There is no doubt that most technologies have developed in tandem, that they are interdependent, and that there is an inevitability to it all - for better or for worse. To anthropomorphize this "technium" is downright silly, in my opinion.
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