Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology

by Kentaro Toyama

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Overview

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

After a decade designing technologies meant to address education, health, and global poverty, award-winning computer scientist Kentaro Toyama came to a difficult conclusion: Even in an age of amazing technology, social progress depends on human changes that gadgets can't deliver.

Computers in Bangalore are locked away in dusty cabinets because teachers don't know what to do with them. Mobile phone apps meant to spread hygiene practices in Africa fail to improve health. Executives in Silicon Valley evangelize novel technologies at work even as they send their children to Waldorf schools that ban electronics. And four decades of incredible innovation in America have done nothing to turn the tide of rising poverty and inequality. Why then do we keep hoping that technology will solve our greatest social ills?

In this incisive book, Toyama cures us of the manic rhetoric of digital utopians and reinvigorates us with a deeply people-centric view of social change. Contrasting the outlandish claims of tech zealots with stories of people like Patrick Awuah, a Microsoft millionaire who left his engineering job to open Ghana's first liberal arts university, and Tara Sreenivasa, a graduate of a remarkable South Indian school that takes impoverished children into the high-tech offices of Goldman Sachs and Mercedes-Benz, Geek Heresy is a heartwarming reminder that it's human wisdom, not machines, that move our world forward.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610395281
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 05/26/2015
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 439,650
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Kentaro Toyama is W. K. Kellogg Associate Professor at the University of Michigan's School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. Previously, he was cofounder and assistant managing director of Microsoft Research India. Toyama graduated from Yale with a PhD in Computer Science and from Harvard with a bachelor's in Physics. He was born in Tokyo and raised in both Japan and the United States. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 No Laptop Left Behind 3

Conflicting Results in Educational Technology

Chapter 2 The Law of Amplification 17

A Simple but Powerful Theory of Technology's Social Impact

Chapter 3 Geek Myths Debunked 38

Dispelling Misguided Belief About Technology

Chapter 4 Shrink-Wfapped Quick Fixes 57

Technology as an Exemplar of the Packaged Intervention

Chapter 5 Technocratic Orthodoxy 74

The Pervasive Biases of Modern Do-Gooding

Chapter 6 Amplifying People 103

The Importance of Heart, Mind, and Will

Chapter 7 A Different Kind of Upgrade 122

Human Development Before Technology Development

Chapter 8 Hierarchy of Aspirations 151

The Evolution of Intrinsic Motivation

Chapter 9 "Gross National Wisdom" 172

Societal Development and Mass Intrinsic Growth

Chapter 10 Nurturing Change 192

Mentorship as a Social-Cause Paradigm

Conclusion 211

Acknowledgments 219

Appendix: Highlighted Nonprofits 223

Notes 225

References 279

Index 315

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