How to Fix the Future

How to Fix the Future

Book - 2018
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A leading Internet commentator showcases global solutions for preserving the fundamentals of humanity and civilized society in an increasingly perilous digital world.
"Humanity has in the past undergone periods of creative destruction where improvements of social and economic conditions have come with harmful side effects. But, as Keen points out, we have ways to fix the problems we are facing now. He identifies five key tools: competitive innovation, consumer choice, regulation, social responsibility, and education. Keen travels the world to see how experts, innovators, and entrepreneurs are using these tools to make positive change. Keen's journey takes him to Estonia, where an online portal has been developed to allow Estonians to see the data collected on them by the government, and Where an "e-residency" program is projected to bring 10 million e-citizens to the small Baltic state by 2025. Keen travels to Germany, where both regulation and competitive innovation are being used to address problems: Hamburg's data commissioner successfully blocked Facebook from collecting data on the country's users of WhatsApp, and developers of software such as Adblock Plus are helping ensure that advertising does not become the sole raison d'être for the Internet. In India, Keen speaks to a young entrepreneur who is building a new data ID system as part of the government's "Rebooting India" program--quite a task in a country of 1.3 billion people. And Keen of course travels to Silicon Valley, where he finds a growing understanding that the pioneering tech entrepreneurs who have harvested unimaginable wealth from their innovations must become better citizens and help solve some of the problems they have created in the same way a previous generation of philanthropists--the Mellons, Carnegies, and Rockefellers--did. Powerful, urgent, and deeply engaging, How to Fix the Future shows how we might preserve human values in an increasingly digital world and the steps we must take as societies and individuals to make the future something we can again look forward to."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780802126641
Branch Call Number: 303.4833 K264h 2018
Characteristics: xiii, 330 pages ; 24 cm


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Feb 14, 2018

This book starts out as a National Geographic-style, first-person-present-tense, globe-spanning trudge through the newest uses of the internet. The author takes us to Estonia, Singapore, Brussels, and California to ask about the problems and solutions to the question of how to use the internet for good and not for evil.

It doesn't get good until Chapter 8, when the author shows some passion about the lack of social responsibility among the big digital companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon. He goes into the way the big media companies are squeezing the profit out of music and other content. The music industry makes more money from the small market for vinyl records than from all of the online streaming.

He spends a chapter on the gig economy, showing how companies like Uber mistreat their part-time employees.

If you are interested in new uses for the internet, read the whole book; if you don't have the time to read about what they are doing in Singapore, and how the European Union is trying to tame the internet giants, just start with Chapter 8. You won't miss much.

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