Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Book Review : CyberSelfish : A critical romp through the terribly Libertarian Culture of High tech

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

This quote sums up my response to this book. Pauline Borsook's book, Cyberselfish.
Borsook was a former writer of Wired. It looks into the politics of Silicon Valley. First off, I love both Wired and Silicon Valley, but she soon diminish and make's me approach both with some disdain. Libertarian means :- One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state. Borsook feels that in silicon valley and wired, the area feels that the individual is more important than society. The individual has to be white,middle class and a geek. The books is in chapters and has an excellent chapter on her time at wired (and its sexist attitude). The problem with both wired and silicon valley is that they see technology as an answer to everything, and central government is the bogey man. This book is great and loved it. But i'll sum it up with a quote from :-

"As the CSU-SJ [California State University] study participant puts it, 'knowledge is viewed as data awaiting retrieval.' This restrictive notion of reading as database query, of reading for information, may suit technolibertarian, but not the rest of us so well. When I interviewed the other Microsoft billionaire, Paul Allen , for Wired, he trotted out the so-tired notion of the customizable newspaper [a blog?], delievered electronically. I explained to him that most people read a newspaper differently, skimming to be surprised, reading it precisely because they are not sure what they would find. He was puzzled, poor dear, and didn't know what I was talking about. Just as nerds constantly ask me what something I've written is about (in other words, they want a key-word precis/abstract. All writing is conceived of as technical documentation."

This book is great, as a critique of silicon valley, wired or politics. Just get it. 10 out of 10.

No comments: