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Living with the Genie: Essays On Technology And The Quest For Human Mastery von [Lightman, Alan]
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Living with the Genie: Essays On Technology And The Quest For Human Mastery Kindle Edition

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Länge: 360 Seiten Word Wise: Aktiviert Sprache: Englisch

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"A group of remarkably penetrating, frank, and expert scientists, techno-wizards, activists, and writers raise provocative questions about what is gained and what is lost in a world enthralled by technology in this wonderfully soulful forum on life in the 'Wired World.'"


"A group of remarkably penetrating, frank, and expert scientists, techno-wizards, activists, and writers raise provocative questions about what is gained and what is lost in a world enthralled by technology in this wonderfully soulful forum on life in the 'Wired World.' " -BOOKLIST

Biotechnology, Cloning, Robotics, Nanotechnology...

At a time when scientific and technological breakthroughs keep our eyes focused on the latest software upgrades or the newest cell-phone wizardry, a group of today's most innovative thinkers are looking beyond the horizon to explore both the promise and the peril of our technological future.

Human ingenuity has granted us a world of unprecedented personal power -- enabling us to communicate instantaneously with anyone anywhere on the globe, to transport ourselves in both real and virtual worlds to distant places with ease, to fill our bellies with engineered commodities once available to only a privileged elite.

Through our technologies, we have sought to free ourselves from the shackles of nature and become its master. Yet science and technology continually transform our experience and society in ways that often seem to be beyond our control. Today, different areas of research and innovation are advancing synergistically, multiplying the rate and magnitude of technological and societal change, with consequences that no one can predict.

Living with the Genie explores the origins, nature, and meaning of such change, and our capacity to govern it. As the power of technology continues to accelerate, who, this book asks, will be the master of whom?

In Living with the Genie, leading writers and thinkers come together to confront this question from many perspectives, including: Richard Powers's whimsical investigation of the limits of artificial intelligence; Philip Kitcher's confrontation of the moral implications of science; Richard Rhodes's exploration of the role of technology in reducing violence; Shiv Visvanathan's analysis of technology's genocidal potential; Lori Andrews's insights into the quest for human genetic enhancement; Alan Lightman's reflections on how technology changes the experience of our humanness.

These and ten other provocative essays open the door to a new dialogue on how, in the quest for human mastery, technology may be changing what it means to be human, in ways we scarcely comprehend.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 3285 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 360 Seiten
  • Verlag: Island Press; Auflage: New edition (15. September 2004)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B0057UDO0G
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Nicht aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #1.013.562 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x9c7c599c) von 5 Sternen 7 Rezensionen
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9c0cc39c) von 5 Sternen A fine collection of essays on "the genie" 9. August 2004
Von L. Feld - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"Living with the Genie" is an excellent, important, timely, thought provoking book on human's complex relationship with science and technology. As with any collection of essays, the quality level varies, with a few essays really standing out, although not one of them is bad. The main theme here is not pro-or anti-technology per se, but simply that rapid technological and scientific progress has huge implications for humans, so we'd better give the issue some serious thought. The overarching question, as alluded to by the title, is how we live with the "genie" of rapid technological change, now that it's out of the bottle.

Perhaps my favorite essay is the one by Richard Powers, which actually had me rather rattled. Even at the end of Powers' piece, I couldn't decide if what he described really happened to him, or if it was the basis for a new, Matrix-like sci-fi plot on Artificial Intelligence run amok. In addition to Powers, the chapter by Ray Kurzweil is also fascinating, although a bit repetitive if you've read Kurzweil's book, "The Age of Spiritual Machines." Still, Kurzweil's musings are fascinating, as he ponders whether or not the combination of robotics, biotechnology, and nanotech might be the doom of us all, or whether instead it might lead to a new age in which humans evolve into a hybrid man-machine species like the Borg in Star Trek.

Other chapters in the book present further riffs on various aspects of technology and science. D. Michelle Addington writes an intriguing, if somewhat confusing, chapter on one particular technology -- HVAC -- to illustrate how "our technological world is constructed by our beliefs and not necessarily by progress or science." Lori Andrews discusses genetic engineering of humans and a world in which "people may be treated as products." Gregor Wolbring contributes a well executed chapter on technology and the concept of "disability." Philip Kitcher discusses the types of science that "should be done." Christina Desser's chapter provides a literary meditation on technology and human "connectedness." Finally, Alan Lightman discusses the feeling that technology is intruding into the most private aspects of life, interfering even with the ability to think quietly, to "waste time," and to connect (that word again) with one's soul.

All in all, this is a fine collection of essays, well worth reading in today's world of tremendous technological promise -- and threat.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9c1c1954) von 5 Sternen A critical, positive assessment of technology in society 1. März 2004
Von Michele Susan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Many critics of writings on the relationship between society and its technologies presume that any "negative" assessment (that a technology is inappropriate, that it is moving too fast, that it is too expensive, etc.) indicates the authors are anti-technology Luddites, or just too dense to "get it." It would not surprise me if this happens with this collection of essays as well, and that is unfortunate, as the feeling one takes away at the end of the book is anything but negative in regard to technology and society.
Each of the essays is individually valuable (and quite well-written; some are quite nuanced and require careful reading), but I found them most powerful taken as a whole: science, technology, engineering, innovation...these are good: both good as values in themselves and good for society as a whole. The message that the authors are collectively trying to communicate is that technology (and thus its creators, scientists and engineers) is *part of* the social fabric, not something outside or overarching. The authors ask us to think critically about the use of specific technologies in society, and about the processes we use to shepherd these technologies into everyday use. This is not a reaction to feeling powerless in the face of technology. It is a positive, proactive approach to outlining what kinds of technologies might best let us realize our potentials, both as inviduals and as society as a whole; and to begin to attack the more difficult problem of determining when a problem can be technologically solved, and when it requires other kinds of expertise.
While the questioning of invention, development, and introduction of new technologies per se into everyday use might never be acceptable to those with an absolute belief that technology, science, engineering, etc., are "good", for everyone else, this kind of questioning should be thought of as a net positive: by introducing the right kinds of technology at the right time in the right place, all technologies are potentially more useful and more readily acceptable. For anyone who has been thinking about the fascinating, complex relationship between society and technology, this book will have you both nodding in agreement and questioning long-held views.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9c0ccf00) von 5 Sternen Living with the Genie 3. März 2004
Von Beth J Rosenberg - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking collection of essays of the pros and cons of science and technology, from an interesting range of scientists. Unlike many books on this subject, it's a fast read, because it's beautifully written. You can hear the wise voices of the authors. We should listen to them.
HASH(0x9c1cbb28) von 5 Sternen MISSING REQUIRED PARADIGM SHIFTS 17. September 2011
Von Yehezkel Dror - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Crazy States: A Counterconventional Strategic Problem;The Capacity to Govern: A Report to the Club of Rome

This is an outstanding book most chapters of which, written by high-quality authors, present important ideas, including some needed iconoclastic ones, in clear language.

In view of the virtues of the book as a whole, I hesitate to pinpoint a number of weak arguments, preferring instead to focus on the two major omissions, which in part leave the analyses as a whole handing in a vacuum. But, before doing so, I would be negligent if I did not point out at least two specific weaknesses in the contributions collected in the book. The first concerns the proposal by Philip Kitcher for a kind of comprehensive and rationalistic design for science policy making (pp. 214-215). It cannot but remind me of rather naïve "comprehensive planning" approaches long ago dropped by public policy disciplines. Inter alia, the proposal ignores the logical impossibility of aggregating preferences, the incommensurability of many values, the unacceptability of majority decisions by "true believers," rather naïve trust in the potentials of tutorials to convey adequate understanding of science and technology options, and the deep and irreducible uncertainty of the outcomes and costs of many R&D endeavor (as empirically proven).

Less obvious, but all the more misleading because of its insidiousness, are assumptions in a number of chapters on a body of fixed and rather clear "human ethics and values" (e.g., p. 53). Some of the chapters (such as by Gregor Wolbring and Shiv Visvanathan) counter-act this fallacy, but still it pervades most of the book.

This leads directly to the two grave omission of the book, which undermine most of its explicit or implied recommendations. As I read history, in the absence of a powerful global authority partaking some of the characteristics of a Global Leviathan, uses of "the Genie" for the worse are unavoidable. Egocentric interests and, even more so, fanatic values, are sure to ignore international agreements if achieves, which too is very doubtful. Therefore, prevention of development and uses of technologies for the worse, up to endangering the existence of humanity, requires a radical paradigm-shift towards global authoritarian enforcement of limitations, often with rather intrusive surveillance contradicting contemporary Western liberal values.

To be realistic, it is hard to image the needed paradigm-shift coming about other than after one or two major calamities. But, still, efforts to move in the required direction without too high a learning cost are needed. This leads to the second "forgotten" required paradigm-shift, namely upgrading of the quality of politicians, including on all the issues raised to well in the book. Nearly complete absence of attention to politicians and critical actors who can potentially help to "live with the genie," including in part putting him back into a bottle, is a serious omission - all the more so as I think this book, with some improvements, should be obligatory readings for politicians all over the worlds.

Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
HASH(0x9c1cbcd8) von 5 Sternen Taming Technology? 2. März 2004
Von Robert Frodeman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a supurb book. Science and technology threaten to recreate both nature outside and nature within--our minds, our bodies, society, and the physical world. This book takes a balanced look at these contentious topics--with essays from a wide range of luminaries--raising questions that are sure to become more important over the next few years.
The book is ideally suited for undergraduate courses in science and society, sociology, and policy. It also makes for an entertaining read for scientists and citizens who are concerned about the future of humanity.
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