Friday, September 17, 2010

Nicholas Carr's Book The Big Switch Rewiring The World From Edison to Google

From Publishers Weekly
This book is extremely worth the reading.  He is a true visionary.  Watch his video presentation on this book!

While it may seem that we're in the midst of an unprecedented technological transition, Carr (Does IT Matter?) posits that the direction of the digital revolution has a strong historical corollary: electrification. Carr argues that computing, no longer personal, is going the way of a power utility. Manufacturers used to provide their own power (i.e., windmills and waterwheels) until they plugged into the electric grid a hundred years ago. According to Carr, we're in the midst of a similar transition in computing, moving from our own private hard drives to the computer as access portal. Soon all companies and individuals will outsource their computing systems, from programming to data storage, to companies with big hard drives in out-of-the-way places. Carr's analysis of the recent past is clear and insightful as he examines common computing tools that are embedded in the Internet instead of stored on a hard drive, including Google and YouTube. The social and economic consequences of this transition into the utility age fall somewhere between uncertain and grim, Carr argues. Wealth will be further consolidated into the hands of a few, and specific industries, publishing in particular, will perish at the hands of crowdsourcing and the unbundling of content. However, Carr eschews an entirely dystopian vision for the future, hypothesizing without prognosticating. Perhaps lucky for us, he leaves a great number of questions unanswered. (Jan.)
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Mr. Carr criticizes Kevin Kelly's optimistic view of where technology is heading.  He views technology as assisting government to become the Orwellian "big brother."  No matter this book is EXCELLENT reading!  This is one of the great quotes of the book,
After his talk, Dyson found himself chatting with a Google engineer about the company's controversial plan to scan the contents of the world's libraries into its database. "We are not scanning all those books to be read by people," the engineer told him.  "We are scanning them to be read by an AI."
I am sure most people have no idea of what is going to happen in the near future with the cognitive power of computers.

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