Techdirt Reading List: Smarter Than You Think
from the the-opposite-of-luddism dept
We’re back again with another in our weekly reading list posts of books we think our community will find interesting and thought provoking. Once again, buying the book via the Amazon links in this story also help support Techdirt.
Every few years, it seems, someone comes out with a neo-Luddite screed about how technology is terrible and making us all stupid and anti-social. Almost every single time this happens, the warnings and dire predictions prove to be false and misunderstood. This year’s flavor is longtime tech skeptic Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation, which is based off of the slightly questionable premise that (1) tech-based communications are somehow less real than in-person conversations and (2) people don’t actually know how to have conversations today. I question both premises, and that’s why this week’s book on the Techdirt reading list is actually discussing the other side of this. It’s Clive Thompson’s absolutely wonderful Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better. It’s basically the antidote to the Sherry Turkles and Nick Carrs and Jaron Laniers of the world insisting that tech is somehow dumbing us down.
Thompson’s book goes through the history of similar technopanics from the past, and detailing how they all turned out to be wrong. And, more importantly, he provides tons of evidence to support the idea that technology is actually quite beneficial. Thompson is also a really skilled writer, and the book is a really enjoyable read overall. The book is full of interesting and entertaining examples and stories — and then backed up with solid details and research to show that it’s not just a bunch of anecdotes. If you’re getting tired of just hearing about how technology is making us dumber, maybe pick up this book that shows how it’s actually making us smarter.