Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life

December 9, 2019 - Comment

A field manual to the technologies that are transforming our lives Everywhere we turn, a startling new device promises to transfigure our lives. But at what cost? In this urgent and revelatory excavation of our Information Age, leading technology thinker Adam Greenfield forces us to reconsider our relationship with the networked objects, services and spaces

A field manual to the technologies that are transforming our lives

Everywhere we turn, a startling new device promises to transfigure our lives. But at what cost? In this urgent and revelatory excavation of our Information Age, leading technology thinker Adam Greenfield forces us to reconsider our relationship with the networked objects, services and spaces that define us. It is time to re-evaluate the Silicon Valley consensus determining the future.

We already depend on the smartphone to navigate every aspect of our existence. We’re told that innovations—from augmented-reality interfaces and virtual assistants to autonomous delivery drones and self-driving cars—will make life easier, more convenient and more productive. 3D printing promises unprecedented control over the form and distribution of matter, while the blockchain stands to revolutionize everything from the recording and exchange of value to the way we organize the mundane realities of the day to day. And, all the while, fiendishly complex algorithms are operating quietly in the background, reshaping the economy, transforming the fundamental terms of our politics and even redefining what it means to be human.

Having successfully colonized everyday life, these radical technologies are now conditioning the choices available to us in the years to come. How do they work? What challenges do they present to us, as individuals and societies? Who benefits from their adoption? In answering these questions, Greenfield’s timely guide clarifies the scale and nature of the crisis we now confront —and offers ways to reclaim our stake in the future.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Techno-humanist tour de force, and left-brain companion to “Dark Mirror” I first met Adam Greenfield when he accepted an invitation to deliver a guest talk at a computer systems conference I co-organized in 2009. His talk on what would later become known as “smart cities” was ahead of its time and (in my mind) firmly placed him as a modern urbanist, well within the tradition of Jane Jacobs but with a deep technology sensibility, as his later book “Against the Smart City” revealed. In his latest book he emerges as a true humanist, again with a deep…

Anonymous says:

Self-Limited Technically, this book is pretty good – in places the emphasis seems a little off, suggesting that the author’s understanding isn’t quite right, but I didn’t notice a single major blooper. It gives a useful, critical assessment of many (no biotech for some reason) upcoming tehcnologies.For most of the book, though, I was a little confused. I couldn’t work out who was the target audience. This is clarified in the final chapter which exorts those on “the left” to become more…

Anonymous says:

A critically important book, a guide for our time This book is a an excellent field guide to the sometimes mysterious technologies that are either already an integral part of our lives or stand a chance of being integral in the near future, visibly or invisibly.The structure and attitude of this book is what sets it apart. It conveys the core concepts of each technology, the vision of its proponents, social and political implications, as well as the ways it might either fail to catch on, or the ways it might go wrong. Without…

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