Worth a Look: Parag Khanna on Technocracy & Democracy in America (Not Good Enough)

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Democracy, Information Society, Information Technology, Worth A Look
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American democracy just isn’t good enough anymore. A costly election has done more to divide American society than unite it, while trust in government–and democracy itself–is plummeting. But there are better systems out there, and America would be wise to learn from them.

In this provocative manifesto, globalization scholar Parag Khanna tours cutting-edge nations from Switzerland to Singapore to reveal the inner workings that allow them that lead the way in managing the volatility of a fast-changing world while delivering superior welfare and prosperity for their citizens.

The ideal form of government for the complex 21st century is what Khanna calls a “direct technocracy,” one led by experts but perpetually consulting the people through a combination of democracy and data.

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Review: The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks

3 Star, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology
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Amazon Page

Joshua Cooper Ramo

3.0 out of 5 stars Over-Sold, Dated, Shallow, Not At All Inspiring

Do not trust jacket blurbs from celebrities — most of these blurbs are written without ever reading the book, a form of corruption.

See Instead (a 6 Star Book): Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization

Ramo’s intent is to sensitize us to changes we are living through as highly connected networks come to dominate nearly every aspect of society. He does not presume to tell us how it will all turn out, only that institutions will be thoroughly reshaped under relentless pressures. He offers hints of the posture one might develop to make the most of the situation we are in, but there are no guarantees. So while the reader might enjoy the reassurance of a conclusive diagnosis and a sure-fire strategy for success, as so many business books offer, Ramos feels that it would be unwise to offer that sort of satisfaction. His premise is correct, but the alternative satisfaction — of wisdom — sets a high bar. Does he deliver?

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Worth a Look: The Internet is Not the Answer

5 Star, Information Society, Information Technology
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Amazon Page

The Internet Is Not the Answer, by longtime Internet skeptic Andrew Keen, offers a comprehensive look at what the Internet is doing to our lives. The book traces the technological and economic history of the Internet, from its founding in the 1960s through the rise of big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity. Startling and important, The Internet Is Not the Answer is a big-picture look at what the Internet is doing to our society and an investigation of what we can do to try to make sure the decisions we are making about the reconfiguring of our world do not lead to unpleasant, unforeseen aftershocks.

Review: Hacker Hoaxer Whistleblower Spy – The Many Faces of Anonymous

4 Star, Democracy, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)
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Amazon Page

Gabriella Coleman

Anonymous is almost certainly not what you think it is. You have to live it to understand it, its implications, its functioning, and its place in society. Gabrielle Coleman lived it, as a fully disclosed academic anthropologist. This is her story as much as theirs.

The structure of Anonymous is like the structure of the internet: multiple channels, multiple entry points, self healing patches, and lots of redundancy. (Also lots of swearing, lots of personal attacks, and lots of suspicions. Testosterone is involved.) This enables a totally flat organization to achieve in minutes what giant corporations and government take years to effect. The exhilaration, the joy, the satisfaction participants savor is incomparable. Anonymous is far more than a labor of love; it is idealists executing on their dreams. Everyone should be jealous.

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