What Technology Wants

paperback, 416 pages

Published Sept. 27, 2011 by Penguin Books, Penguin Group.

ISBN:
978-0-14-312017-9
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3 stars (13 reviews)

A fascinating, innovative, and optimistic look at how humanity and technology join to produce increasing opportunities in the world and how technology can give our lives greater meaning.

5 editions

Review of 'What Technology Wants' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

In 1954, Heidegger published "The Question Concerning Technology," where he attempted to identify technology's essence. Kelly claims to be undertaking the same task here. While Heidegger accomplished his effort in 19 pages, Kelly drags the reader through 359 pages of prolix techno-optimism masquerading as serious inquiry, including (on page 68) a demonstrable misreading of Heidegger's argument.

While he proposes a compelling notion (that technology is a form of evolutionary life following a trajectory independent of its human creators), it rests on the weakest of scaffolding - a severe reliance on correlation as causation; the invention of tendentious concepts such as exotropy; an abundance of non-falsifiable theses; and the consistent construction of straw men to reinforce his argument. While occasionally giving a nod to the negative impacts of technology, such acknowledgements are always rebutted by the simplistically naive claim that newer technology will save us.

Perhaps most troubling is Kelly's own …

Review of 'What technology wants' on Goodreads

3 stars

Kevin Kelly always irritates me, because he has a tendency to be absolutely correct in his general arguments while making a host of specific supporting arguments that are weak or incorrect. What Technology Wants is no exception, although it's not quite as bad as Out Of Control in terms of fact checking. It's more enjoyable if you pretend that it isn't supposed to be convincing.

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