The Glass Cage: Automation and Us

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9780393240764: The Glass Cage: Automation and Us

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.

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About the Author:

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and The Glass Cage, among other books. Former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, he has written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Wired. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Review:

“Nicholas Carr is among the most lucid, thoughtful, and necessary thinkers alive. He’s also terrific company. The Glass Cage should be required reading for everyone with a phone.”
- Jonathan Safran Foer

“Artificial intelligence has that name for a reason―it isn’t natural, it isn’t human. As Nicholas Carr argues so gracefully and convincingly in this important, insightful book, it is time for people to regain the art of thinking. It is time to invent a world where machines are subservient to the needs and wishes of humanity.”
- Don Norman, author of Things that Make Us Smart and Design of Everyday Things, director of the University of California San Diego Design Lab

“Written with restrained objectivity, The Glass Cage is nevertheless scary as any sci-fi thriller could be. It forces readers to reflect on what they already suspect, but don't want to admit, about how technology is shaping our lives. Like it or not, we are now responsible for the future of this negligible planet circling Sol; books like this one are needed until we develop an appropriate operating manual.”
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, professor of psychology and management, Claremont Graduate University

“Engaging, informative ...Carr deftly incorporates hard research and historical developments with philosophy and prose to depict how technology is changing the way we live our lives.”
- Publishers Weekly

“Nick Carr is our most informed, intelligent critic of technology. Since we are going to automate everything, Carr persuades us that we should do it wisely―with mindful automation. Carr's human-centric technological future is one you might actually want to live in.”
- Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick for Wired Magazine and author of What Technology Wants

“Most of us, myself included, are too busy tweeting to notice our march into technological dehumanization. Nicholas Carr applies the brakes for us (and our self-driving cars).”
- Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure

“Carr brilliantly and scrupulously explores all the psychological and economic angles of our increasingly problematic reliance on machinery and microchips to manage almost every aspect of our lives. A must-read for software engineers and technology experts in all corners of industry as well as everyone who finds himself or herself increasingly dependent on and addicted to gadgets.”
- Booklist, Starred Review

“Fresh and powerful.”
- Mark Bauerlein, Weekly Standard

“Nick Carr is the rare thinker who understands that technological progress is both essential and worrying. The Glass Cage is a call for technology that complements our human capabilities, rather than replacing them.”
- Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus

“A sobering new analysis of the hazards of intelligent technology.”
- Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe

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