Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The web is merely convenient, 17 July 2008
This review is from: Against The Machine: Being Human in the Era of the Electronic Mob (Paperback)
Lee Siegel has written a book which doesn't criticise the World Wide Web - he is not some sort of 'neo-luddite' - but he does criticise those who see the internet as some sort of techno utopia where self-expression equals creativity, information replaces knowledge and where corporate speak has appropriated the language of rebellion and revolution. This is a world where public figures, or those who write for so called 'old' media, are held accountable for deception but not bloggers or those who contribute to other 'new' media and where people quite happily produce and swallow 'citizen' propaganda under the banner of freedom.

Siegel wants to show that, like cars before it, the web is merely a convenience not a revolution on par with the printing press - where technology is seen as liberating but is really constraining (how much 'freedom' do MP3s and mobile phones really give?). Of course many people who advocate this type of freedom (for information and sharing it with the world) are really no different to western colonialists who want to show the 'Third World' how it should be done and disseminate information to them in a western way - and for alot of these people the country which has surpassed, or will soon surpass, the US in web usage is a totalitarien regime which routinely imprisons and censors people who do not conform to the governments view - even censoring the web. China is the elephant in to room for the techno utopia.

This book is a must read for anyone interested in critiscism of the web, something you don't find much of, or just interested in the implications of the web for the future, it is an easy read which belies the wealth of ideas contained within it. My only critiscism would be Siegel's use of the word 'internet' instead of the 'web' - without the web the internet would still be in the domain of computer hobbyists and academics.

After reading this book you should be more sceptical of those proposing a utopian society based upon technology.
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