Book review: Nicholas Carr’s ‘The Glass Cage’

October 19, 2014 12:00 PM

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Book review: Nicholas Carr’s ‘The Glass Cage’

On page 161 of his latest socio-technologico-cultural treatise, Nicholas Carr betrays where the heart of the book really lies: “As society becomes evermore computerized,” he writes, “the technologist becomes its unacknowledged legislator.” It seems a succinct line in a book about the effects of technology. But the sentiment is a nod to Shelley’s famous dictum that “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” With the allusion, Carr signals that his book is actually a humanistic inquiry.

Up to that point, The Glass Cage proceeds in the Gladwellian manner: a stacking of studies, anecdotes and assertions that are easy to quibble with and often self-contradictory. Carr seems to have a vague notion that automation is bad; he just doesn’t seem to have facts to back that idea up.

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