"We have to interrogate our most destabilizing new technologies and be aware of their dangers (economic, political, and social), to flat-out avoid the tools we find harmful—yet not be blinded to the ones that truly augment our thought and bring intellectual joy."
After having it on my list of things to read for a while, I recently finished this book by Clive Thompson that explores the positive influence technology is having on our lives. I found this book to be a refreshing, engaging, and relevant look at modern technology and this book is chock full of awesome numbers, figures, and stories that drive home the main points.
While any book about technology that comes out these days is instantly out of date once it is published, Thompson does well here to focus on the broad strokes of what current technology offers us and how it is helping us. He also focuses on communication technology which is of interest to me personally rather than anything too scientific. The fact that he fills the book with just the influence of communication tools further supports how it is changing the world in a massive way. The way we share information, how we learn, and how we are governed has changed dramatically in the past few years.
Some of Thompson's examples of are the revolutions happening in the Middle East, the numerous times a problem has been solved quickly by an online community, and just the sheer amount of information being shared on social media every day. We're communicating with each other more now than ever before, and that impacts our friendships, our families, and our work. Some jobs are being created, others are being made obsolete. We can know what is happening all over the world in an instant and also find communities of people who love what we're passionate about, no matter how niche it might be.
I am optimistic in general and also just love social media so I'm very happy to have been able to read this book and share it. It gives a lot of objective facts about how all these new tools are making our lives better in meaningful ways. I don't see any of it going anywhere soon so we are going to keep reaping the benefits of being more connected for years to come.
I wanted to share some of my favorite excerpts, so here they are:
"I calculate that we’re composing at least 3.6 trillion words daily, or the equivalent of 36 million books every day. The entire U.S. Library of Congress, by comparison, holds around about 35 million books."
"When you gaze with wild surmise upon the Pacific of strangeness online, you confront the astonishing diversity of human passion."
"The things we think about are deeply influenced by the state of the art around us: the conversations taking place among educated folk, the shared information, tools, and technologies at hand."
You can find Smarter Than You Think at your favorite book retailer!