An Irreverent Cultural History of This Digital Life
Too Much Magic is the story of how venture capital, media moguls and marketeers use digital magic to distract us, invade our privacy, corrupt democracy, distort our human values, and sell us things that we don't need.
Authored by Silicon Valley marketing-communications guru Jason Benlevi, Too Much Magic looks at all aspects of our emerging digital lifestyle, how it is changing us, and who it is that really benefits.
We have a long love/hate relationship with technology. However, the problem is usually not technology itself, but rather the powers that are deciding its course. The conflict is apparent when we witness people standing in line overnight to buy the newest tech gadget, while at the same time every film about the future from Metropolis to Blade Runner to Avatar depicts a dystopia that has enabled by technology.
Originally, the Mac and personal computing revolution were about self-empowerment, and the Internet was a utility for people to share knowledge. Now that revolution is in danger of being turned against us. Too Much Magic explains how the Cult of Tech, a convergence of business, media and academic interests, is infiltrating every aspect of our lives through clever marketing and “digital convergence.”
Too Much Magic examines what “being digital” really means. The book details historic changes in our entertainment, personal communications, play time, public affairs and social interactions. It also sounds an alarm on stealthy – and escalating – attacks upon our basic freedoms.
Benlevi tells readers what the powers-that-be don’t want them to know about their increasingly digital lives. Prescriptively, Too Much Magic points out ways we can choose to delightfully disengage from technology and exactly what we each can do to preserve our humanity, independence and creativity – all of which could vanish through deceptive acts of digital magic.
Although the book’s topic is serious, its tone is bright and irreverent, offering a refreshing contrarian viewpoint that comes from a deep understanding of technology, media, and culture. Too Much Magic is a unique blend of history, social criticism, and entertainment for the digital age.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“Too Much Magic: Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech” by Jason Ben Levi was written to warn us about the loss of privacy we citizens are losing every day. The sky is falling isn’t coming from someone who is paranoid about technology and has actively kept it out of their lives. It is actually coming from someone who worked on developing Java, Sony PlayStation, Windows XP, and Apple applications. Mr. Levi brings us his insights as someone who has been hooked on technology from childhood and has also been an insider to the technology of today. Mr. Levi does warn us about the addiction of video games and the threat of virtual reality, as well as the desensitization of kids to violence due to violent video games which are so prevalent in the video game market. A lot of his concerns were preaching to the choir for me, but are a good reminder that technology can be used in good ways, but it can also (and more often) is used in ways that are not so beneficial. He discusses the concern about us losing the ability to socialize, either because we have ear buds in on a subway and miss out on an opportunity to talk to people we encounter or being fixated on checking our email on our phone that we don’t notice what is happening around us. I do agree with some of this, but I have also seen how having a DS handheld game has helped my child actually meet other kids who are interested in what she is doing. Without it, she would be too shy to interact. Yes, it can keep us from socializing, but it can also help in breaking the ice and talking to someone who has the same interest. The part of the book I found the most interesting was Section Three. Here the author talks about why corporations have figured out ways to have access to your privacy while stripping away your rights to your own privacy. He goes into the DCMA that introduced laws that gave media companies the right to tell you that even though you purchased that dvd, you are not allowed to act like you own it and do with it what you will. He brings attention to this with the example of Jamie Thomas-Rasset of Minnesota who was fined $1,920,000 for sharing 24 songs. Corporations are constantly compiling information on you but you, the average person, aren’t even allowed to know what they have collected. GPS in our phones now make it so that you can always be located. Mr. Levi does show a frightening picture of our future if we keep allowing corporations to rule over us. This book is chock full of information from the beginning of digital technology to what the possible future of it could be. It is worthwhile to read so that perhaps, together, we can get back some our basic rights and have control over our lives, our information, our privacy.