Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations

by Nicholas Carr
Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations

by Nicholas Carr


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A freewheeling, sharp-shooting indictment of a tech-besotted culture.

With a razor wit, Nicholas Carr cuts through Silicon Valley’s unsettlingly cheery vision of the technological future to ask a hard question: Have we been seduced by a lie? Gathering a decade’s worth of posts from his blog, Rough Type, as well as his seminal essays, Utopia Is Creepy offers an alternative history of the digital age, chronicling its roller-coaster crazes and crashes, its blind triumphs, and its unintended consequences.

Carr’s favorite targets are those zealots who believe so fervently in computers and data that they abandon common sense. Cheap digital tools do not make us all the next Fellini or Dylan. Social networks, diverting as they may be, are not vehicles for self-enlightenment. And “likes” and retweets are not going to elevate political discourse. When we expect technologies—designed for profit—to deliver a paradise of prosperity and convenience, we have forgotten ourselves. In response, Carr offers searching assessments of the future of work, the fate of reading, and the rise of artificial intelligence, challenging us to see our world anew.

In famous essays including “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Privacy,” Carr dissects the logic behind Silicon Valley’s “liberation mythology,” showing how technology has both enriched and imprisoned us—often at the same time. Drawing on artists ranging from Walt Whitman to the Clash, while weaving in the latest findings from science and sociology, Utopia Is Creepy compels us to question the technological momentum that has trapped us in its flow. “Resistance is never futile,” argues Carr, and this book delivers the proof.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393254549
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 9.40(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Glass Cage, and Utopia is Creepy. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Atlantic, and Wired. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Silicon Valley Day's xv

Utopia is Creepy: The Best of Rough Type 1

The Amorality of Web 2.0 3

Myspace's Vacancy 10

The Serendipity Machine 12

California Kings 16

The Wikipedian Crackup 18

Excuse Me While I Blog 21

The Metabolic Thing 23

Big Trouble in Second Life 25

Look at You! 28

Digital Sharecropping 30

Steve's Devices 32

Twitter Dot Dash 34

Ghosts in the Code 37

Go Ask Alice's Avatar 39

Long Player 41

Should the Net Forget? 47

The Means of Creativity 49

Vampires 50

Behind the Hedgerow, Eating Garbage 52

The Social Graft 53

Sexbot Aces Turing Test 55

Looking into a See-Through World 56

Gilligan's Web 58

Complete Control 63

Everything That Digitizes Must Converge 66

Resurrection 69

Rock-By-Number 71

Raising the Virtual Child 73

The Ipad Luddites 76

Nowness 79

Charlie Bit My Cognitive Surplus 80

Making Sharing Safe for Capitalists 83

The Quality of Allusion is not Google 86

Situational Overload and Ambient Overload 90

Grand Theft Attention 93

Memory is the Gravity of Mind 98

The Medium is McLuhan 102

Facebook's Business Model 107

Utopia is Creepy 108

Spinelessness 110

Future Gothic 112

The Hierarchy of Innovation 116

Rip. Mix. Burn. Read 121

Live Fast, Die Young, and Leave a Beautiful Hologram 126

Online, Offline, and the Line Between 127

Google Glass and Claude Glass 131

Burning Down the Schoolhouse 133

The Ennui of the Intelligent Machine 136

Reflections 138

Will Gutenberg Laugh Last? 140

The Searchers 144

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Al 147

Max Levchin has Plans for Us 148

Evgeny's Little Problem 151

The Shortest Conversation between Two Points 152

Home Away from Home 155

Charcoal, Shale, Cotton, Tangerine, Sky 160

Slumming with Buddha 162

The Quantified Self at Work 163

My Computer, My Doppeltweeter 166

Underwearables 168

The Bus 170

The Myth of the Endless Ladder 174

The Loom of the Self 178

Technology Below and Beyond 179

Outsourcing Dad 181

Taking Measurement's Measure 182

Smartphones are Hot 183

Desperate Scrapbookers 185

Out of Control 187

Our Algorithms, Ourselves 190

Twilight of the Idylls 195

The Illusion of Knowledge 199

Wind-Fucking 201

The Seconds are Just Packed 203

Music is the Universal Lubricant 207

Toward a Unified Theory of Love 210

<3S and Minds 214

In the Kingdom of the Bored, the One-Armed Bandit is King 216

Theses in Tweetform 221

The Eunuch's Children: Essays and Reviews 227

Flame and Filament 229

Is Google Making us Stupid? 231

Screaming for Quiet 243

The Dreams of Readers 247

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Privacy 255

Hooked 260

Mother Google 264

The Library of Utopia 267

The Boys of Mountain View 279

The Eunuch's Children 286

Past-Tense Pop 292

The Love That Lays the Swale in Rows 296

The Snapchat Candidate 314

Why Robots Will Always Need Us 321

Lost in the Cloud 325

The Daedalus Mission 329

Acknowledgments 341

Index 345

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