Category: Book Reviews

A Billion Little Pieces

By on November 21st, 2020 in Book Reviews, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

RFID, even though it underlies electronic toll collection and other systems we interact with every day and is poised to become practically ubiquitous, is far less conspicuous. Jordan Firth’s A Billion Little Pieces aims to bring RFID into the foreground, giving readers a sense of what the technology is, how it is being and could be used, and how concerned we should be about its implications, especially those regarding privacy.

Review: Films from the Future

By on January 28th, 2020 in Book Reviews, Ethics, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Somehow at the heart of sci-fi is returning power to the people who almost always regain control before things get completely out of hand. But we learn that our freedom comes at a cost. The reassuring aspect of Maynard’s work is that justice prevails, despite the ominous lurking of some technological beast that is waiting to be unleashed.

Secrets and Lies

By on October 17th, 2019 in Book Reviews, Case Studies, Ethics, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Holmes’s idea of inventing a cheap, small, fast, reliable blood-testing system to creatively destroy most of the world’s existing infrastructure for blood tests ran into big problems early on. But with her chutzpah, persuasiveness, and eventually with the help of outright obfuscations and lies, Holmes kept Theranos going until a Wall Street Journal investigative reporter named John Carreyrou responded to a lead by a health-care blogger that something fishy was going on.

BOOK REVIEW: The Revenge of Analog

By on September 5th, 2019 in Book Reviews, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

“From today, painting is dead!” is said to have been proclaimed by the French painter Paul Delaroche in 1839 after seeing his first daguerreotype. His was an early name on the list of people who have made fools of themselves when prognosticating a future resulting from a new medium or invention. Motivated by either techno-euphoria or pessimism they have become famously wrong.

BOOK REVIEW: The Camera Does the Rest: How Polaroid Changed Photography

By on September 30th, 2018 in Book Reviews, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Peter Buse, in his The Camera Does the Rest, stakes out different territory. His focus is on the social meaning of the Polaroid camera: how did it change photography? How were the cameras used? And how did Land intend them to be used — a concept that often differed from their actual use.

BOOK REVIEW: Drowning in Information, Starving for Knowledge

By on April 10th, 2018 in Book Reviews, Communication Technology, Human Impacts, Magazine Articles, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact

Orman poses “information overload” as a paradox and gives us three mechanisms through which such paradox arises. The paradox is that technologies help us know more, but in the process, we know less.

BOOK REVIEW: Facist Pigs

By on October 20th, 2017 in Book Reviews, Magazine Articles, Societal Impact

In today’s world of climate denial and vaccine skepticism, one would be forgiven for assuming that an anti-intellectual, anti-expertise, anti-truth wave is sweeping the globe, and that the rise of the far right necessarily spells an end for science-informed policy.