The Internet of Us
Book

The Internet of Us

Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data

Liveright, 2016 more...

Editorial Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

Philosophy professor Michael P. Lynch explores the nature of knowledge, wisdom and privacy. What would the world be like if – instead of having to check your smartphone for information – you could wire your brain directly to the Internet? Instead of having to download apps or search your inbox, answers would pop up the split second you think of a question. What a convenient life that would be – but would you be happy trading your private thoughts and feelings for this powerful knowing? Lynch takes you through this (and other) thought experiments concerning gaining knowledge via digital interface. He also draws on more than 2,000 years of philosophy to examine the impact of technology on knowledge production and dissemination. getAbstract recommends Lynch’s dense but compelling writing to knowledge workers, scholars, business leaders and anyone curious about “Google-knowledge.”

Summary

“Our Digital Form of Life”

Imagine you have a chip in your brain that gives you all the information you need. Instead of looking up things on your mobile device, you access that microchip and it opens a door into the world of information. You have unlimited knowledge and can answer almost any question in a split second without an external computer. Call this utopia “neuromedia.” Consider it; you might initially see such direct access to data as beneficial. However, you might also come to see that the chip is collecting private information about your mind and thoughts. You might worry about your data’s safety and the system’s vulnerabilities. What if an accident destroys the platform that supports your neuromedia’s functioning?

This scenario might sound like something from a science fiction movie. But your daily reality already is full of technology that extends your body’s functioning. Take the “Internet of Things” – the so-called “Web 3.0” – in which objects, such as your wristwatch, reading lights and clothes, all have sensors, and each one connects through software to make your life easier. This system involves multiple applications, whether it’s tracking your logistics...

About the Author

Michael P. Lynch is a professor of philosophy and the director of the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut.


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