World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech Read Online Free - Franklin Foer reveals the existential threat posed by big tech, and in his brilliant polemic gives us the toolkit to fight their pervasive influence.
Over the past few decades there has been a revolution in terms of who controls knowledge and information. This rapid change has imperiled the way we think. Without pausing to consider the cost, the world has rushed to embrace the products and services of four titanic corporations. We shop with Amazon; socialize on Facebook; turn to Apple for entertainment; and rely on Google for information. These firms sell their efficiency and purport to make the world a better place, but what they have done instead is to enable an intoxicating level of daily convenience. As these companies have expanded, marketing themselves as champions of individuality and pluralism, their algorithms have pressed us into conformity and laid waste to privacy. They have produced an unstable and narrow culture of misinformation, and put us on a path to a world without private contemplation, autonomous thought, or solitary introspection--a world without mind. In order to restore our inner lives, we must avoid being coopted by these gigantic companies, and understand the ideas that underpin their success.
Elegantly tracing the intellectual history of computer science--from Descartes and the enlightenment to Alan Turing to Stuart Brand and the hippie origins of today's Silicon Valley--Foer exposes the dark underpinnings of our most idealistic dreams for technology. The corporate ambitions of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, he argues, are trampling longstanding liberal values, especially intellectual property and privacy. This is a nascent stage in the total automation and homogenization of social, political, and intellectual life. By reclaiming our private authority over how we intellectually engage with the world, we have the power to stem the tide.
At stake is nothing less than who we are, and what we will become. There have been monopolists in the past but today's corporate giants have far more nefarious aims. They're monopolists who want access to every facet of our identities and influence over every corner of our decision-making. Until now few have grasped the sheer scale of the threat. Foer explains not just the looming existential crisis but the imperative of resistance.
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September 17, 2017
Franklin Foer’s “World Without Mind” is an excellent book. It identifies important problems, ties the problems to their historical precedents, and suggests some reasonable solutions. The book is not complete, or perfect, but in the emerging literature of why and how to curb the power of giant tec...
August 15, 2017
Mark Crispin Miller says in his essay "Big Brother is You Watching", more or less, that no expression can wholly escape the moment that created it. Foer's, "World Without Mind" is no exception to that. However, the book acknowledges something important - the threat of big tech is not "new." I par...
October 08, 2017
How to begin on this well-intended but not very successful effort at painting the dark side of Internet dominance by such firms as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and the like?
- Oh Brave New World that has such platforms in it!
Or perhaps ...
- Former editor of the New Republic used to be a fan of...
October 07, 2017
Silicon Valley dreams of merging mind and machine. If, however, minds merge with machines it will also merge with the corporations that provide the platforms for those machines and corporations dream of monopoly. Monopolies love homogeneity and reliable revenue streams and finally control. This u...
October 11, 2017
While I confess that I didn't agree with much of this book, I found it to be fascinating.
Foer basically argues that companies that are dominating data collection (namely Facebook, Google, and Amazon) are monopolies because they are able to use that data to (unfairly) compete. He is critical of th...
October 22, 2017
I’ve read some criticism of Foer and this book that it’s mainly an outgrowth of his bitterness about being fired from his job as editor of The New Republic (bitterness which he admits has lingered) and his being anti technology. It does certainly seem that in 2017 if you do not 100% worship socia...
March 15, 2018
An important book, but one that is difficult to read - because it holds up a mirror to our society and ourselves
I did not enjoy this book. I loved it, I recommend it, and Franklin Foer's insights are important - but this is not enjoyable.
Why? Because it got me away from all the free services that...
September 17, 2017
An old man and his fears. The good old times were better. But the old man is not smart enough to know the old times were better because they were past, hence easy to manage.
Otherwise, a mindless primitivist statement. Same concerns were generated at every new item in the life of humans. The indus...
March 06, 2018
This book was okay. He made some good points, but I think maybe overzealously and by over-simplifying.
What follows is strictly representative of my own opinions of his work and are in no way indicative of the opinions of my employer, which, you’ll see below may or may not be relevant.
First, he h...
February 05, 2018
It is difficult to overstate the timeliness of this extraordinary book. Though written with a minimum of hyperbole, Foer outlines in great detail the threat posed by the big tech companies and their addiction to and hegemony over Big Data, the mass of information they are constantly collecting an...