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The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by…

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (2014)

by Nicholas Carr

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A moving, lyrical and rather beautiful meditation on the future of automation and the future of humanity. Nicholas Carr has some serious points to make about how automation, efficient and superficially advantageous as it is, can not only diminish our skills but our fundamental abilities and ultimately our sense of worth. This is not some anti-diluvian, Luddite tract (although Carr has a lot of respect for the Luddites) rather a plea for the human not to be removed entirely from the machine and the algorhthym. Carr has some frankly frightening examples from the world of aviation of how pilots now have so little flying to do (often less than 5 minutes per flight) that they are paying less attention and risk losing their skills. He is surely right when he points out that habitual use of GPS and digital maps changes the way we interact with our environment, reducing the world between our front door and our "destination" to meaningless public space. It can never again really be about "the journey". He is right that our mobile devices, constantly demanding our attention with their pings and beeps, prevent us from attaining immersion or flow in any activity. In short, we need human centric innovation and automation

Very well worth reading ( )
  Opinionated | Jun 30, 2018 |
The author looks at the role of automation in our world, and how it is changing the condition of being human. Some ways might be for the better, he argues, but in all, we are ceding a lot to machines that humans are actually better at, and we are losing vital skills. In addition, it may not always be the best choice to have super fast, super efficient decision making, and he discusses the situations where that might not be as desirable as we think. The final chapter deals with the issue of morals, and how we build in algorithms to help automatons make moral decisions without having an active conscience. Well written, cogent, and well researched. One of my main complaints is that the book acts as though there is nothing that could change the forward progress of technology, that could knock out the systems, and leave us facing a less technological future without the skills we need to do it, even though there are several feasible scenarios by which that could happen, either temporarily or permanently. Other than that, a must read for educators, CEOs, and anyone else who lives and breathes in the world. ( )
  Devil_llama | Aug 25, 2016 |
Another great book treating about next intelligence ! A kind of smart alchemy coming from pure robot and Google trans-humanism project ... Well - useless to say that this is actually the next jump to pure automation world !
Thanks Nicholas for giving us highlights of what could be the new paradigm of knowledge and therefore the potential to add it into our life ;()

Dec, 24th - 2015 ( )
  Fouad_Bendris | Dec 24, 2015 |
Very interesting insight into how automation giveth and takes away.
  achaiah | Sep 19, 2015 |
Did you know that automation makes us dumber? We use search engines and autopilots and other machines instead of learning for ourselves, or practicing skills like flying by hand that deteriorate quickly. Automation may also lead to fewer jobs, though that is hotly contested and unclear. Carr raises important concerns—humans may be quite unsuited to the “monitor and jump in to react when something that doesn’t fit into the programming occurs” role, an argument he supports well with respect to flying and driving—but it’s coupled with really unpersuasive claims about the inadequacy of the digital. For example, he quotes architects who claim that architects will never have the same emotional connection, vital to art, with buildings designed on CAD systems rather than drawn on paper. I believe that architects who learned to draw on paper may never be able to fully integrate CAD systems into their processes, but humans are emotion-making dynamos, and I fully expect architects who grow up with CAD systems to cathect without difficulty. Near the end we get a bit of “the solution to the machine is in the machine,” with better-designed programs that force humans out of the ill-suited monitor role and into more participatory roles, and design programs that work more organically, but I was expecting a bit more about simulation. As I understand it, one of the big things simulations can do is give pilots practice—yes, the skies are too crowded for a lot of flying by hand, but you can keep skills from deteriorating by practice in simulators. Also, yes, I’m sure GPS causes deterioration in many people’s navigation skills, but I never had those skills, so it’s only a benefit for me—something he spends a little but not much time acknowledging. ( )
  rivkat | May 9, 2015 |
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Garceau, PeteCover designer and artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393240762, Hardcover)

At once a celebration of technology and a warning about its misuse, The Glass Cage will change the way you think about the tools you use every day.

In The Glass Cage, best-selling author Nicholas Carr digs behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, wearable computers and digitized medicine, as he explores the hidden costs of granting software dominion over our work and our leisure. Even as they bring ease to our lives, these programs are stealing something essential from us.

Drawing on psychological and neurological studies that underscore how tightly people’s happiness and satisfaction are tied to performing hard work in the real world, Carr reveals something we already suspect: shifting our attention to computer screens can leave us disengaged and discontented.

From nineteenth-century textile mills to the cockpits of modern jets, from the frozen hunting grounds of Inuit tribes to the sterile landscapes of GPS maps, The Glass Cage explores the impact of automation from a deeply human perspective, examining the personal as well as the economic consequences of our growing dependence on computers.

With a characteristic blend of history and philosophy, poetry and science, Carr takes us on a journey from the work and early theory of Adam Smith and Alfred North Whitehead to the latest research into human attention, memory, and happiness, culminating in a moving meditation on how we can use technology to expand the human experience.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:10 -0400)

In The Glass Cage, best-selling author Nicholas Carr digs behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, wearable computers and digitized medicine, as he explores the hidden costs of granting software dominion over our work and our leisure and reveals something we already suspect: shifting our attention to computer screens can leave us disengaged and discontented.… (more)

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