Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Verbalizing visceral feelings about technology, whether attraction or repulsion, Kelly explores the technium, his term for the globalized, interconnected stage of technological development. Arguing that the processes creating the technium are akin to those of biological evolution, Kelly devotes the opening sections of his exposition to that analogy, maintaining that the technium exhibits a similar tendency toward self-organizing complexity. Having defined the technium, Kelly addresses its discontents, as expressed by the Unabomber (although Kelly admits to trepidation in taking seriously the antitechnology screeds of a murderer) and then as lived by the allegedly technophobic Amish. From his observations and discussions with some Amish people, Kelly extracts some precepts of their attitudes toward gadgets, suggesting folk in the secular world can benefit from the Amish approach of treating tools as servants of self and society rather than as out-of-control masters. Exploring ramifications of technology on human welfare and achievement, Kelly arrives at an optimistic outlook that will interest many, coming, as it does, from the former editor of Wired magazine.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kelly, one of the founders of Wired magazine, provocatively argues in this ingenious book that technology can have a positive impact on human life and culture. Kelly traces the origins of what he calls the "technium," or the greater, global, massively interconnected system of technology vibrating around us. The technium includes culture, art, social institutions, and intellectual creations of all types, and it is a self-reinforcing system of creation. Kelly carefully avoids anthropomorphizing the technium, but acknowledges that various technologies, much like various systems or organisms in the natural world, express needs or tendencies toward other things; Kelly urges that we benefit the most from our relationship to the technium by learning to work with this force rather than against it. The technium, he argues, provides each person with chances to excel at the unique mixture of talents with which he or she was born or a chance to encounter new ideas and new minds. Thus, the technology of vibrating strings opened up (created) the potential for a virtuoso violin player. Kelly's wise attempts to explain our organic relationship with technology will surely provoke conversations with critics whose discussions of the evils of technology are limited to the negative impact of the computer and the Internet on culture. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Verbalizing visceral feelings about technology, whether attraction or repulsion, Kelly explores the technium, his term for the globalized, interconnected stage of technological development. Arguing that the processes creating the technium are akin to those of biological evolution, Kelly devotes the opening sections of his exposition to that analogy, maintaining that the technium exhibits a similar tendency toward self-organizing complexity. Having defined the technium, Kelly addresses its discontents, as expressed by the Unabomber (although Kelly admits to trepidation in taking seriously the antitechnology screeds of a murderer) and then as lived by the allegedly technophobic Amish. From his observations and discussions with some Amish people, Kelly extracts some precepts of their attitudes toward gadgets, suggesting folk in the secular world can benefit from the Amish approach of treating tools as servants of self and society rather than as out-of-control masters. Exploring ramifications of technology on human welfare and achievement, Kelly arrives at an optimistic outlook that will interest many, coming, as it does, from the former editor of Wired magazine.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist