Not So Fast
Thinking Twice about Technology

Doug Hill

A critical examination of the character of technology and its impacts

Reviews

“It’s crucial—even as we sink ever deeper into our mediated world—that we pay attention to the technology engulfing us. This book helps draw the baseline that we’re leaving behind and perhaps will slow down the flight from reality.”
—Bill McKibben, activist and author, Enough, The Age of Missing Information and The End of Nature

"This book is the most comprehensive, provocative, and entertaining review of technological thought, expression, impact and controversy that I have yet seen. Written in a remarkably straightforward and open style, and seemingly without personal axes to grind, Doug Hill provides details and insight into the evolution of technology over the last millennium, while focusing on the debates, pro and con, that shaped many stages of recent development. The book is more than just a discourse; it's an informal encyclopedia of perspectives, predictions, debates and consequences of our society's technologic evolution; the upsides, and perhaps more-so, the downsides; and is more comprehensive and efficient in these explorations than anything that has preceded it. And yet it is easy reading, personable, and charming. An extraordinary achievement."
—Jerry Mander, Founder and Chair of the International Forum on Globalization and author of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television; In the Absence of the Sacred; and The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws in an Obsolete System


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Description

There’s a well-known story about an older fish who swims by two younger fish and asks, “How’s the water?” The younger fish are puzzled. “What’s water?” they ask.

Many of us today might ask a similar question: What’s technology? Technology defines the world we live in, yet we’re so immersed in it, so encompassed by it, that we mostly take it for granted. Seldom, if ever, do we stop to ask what technology is. Failing to ask that question, we fail to perceive all the ways it might be shaping us.

Usually when we hear the word “technology,” we automatically think of digital devices and their myriad applications. As revolutionary as smartphones, online shopping, and social networks may seem, however, they fit into long-standing, deeply entrenched patterns of technological thought as well as practice. Generations of skeptics have questioned how well served we are by those patterns of thought and practice, even as generations of enthusiasts have promised that the latest innovations will deliver us, soon, to Paradise. We’re not there yet, but the cyber utopians of Silicon Valley keep telling us it’s right around the corner.

What is technology, and how is it shaping us? In search of answers to those crucial questions, Not So Fast draws on the insights of dozens of scholars and artists who have thought deeply about the meanings of machines. The book explores such dynamics as technological drift, technological momentum, technological disequilibrium, and technological autonomy to help us understand the interconnected, interwoven, and interdependent phenomena of our technological world. In the course of that exploration, Doug Hill poses penetrating questions of his own, among them: Do we have as much control over our machines as we think? And who can we rely on to guide the technological forces that will determine the future of the planet?

Page count: 216 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9

 



Hardcover
List price: $29.95
978-0-8203-5029-5
10/15/16

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Doug Hill is a journalist and independent scholar who has studied the history and philosophy of technology for more than twenty-five years. His work has appeared in numerous national publications, including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Atlantic, Salon, Forbes, Esquire, and the blog “The Question Concerning Technology.” He is coauthor of the bestseller Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live and lives in Philadelphia.