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on 1 April 2014
Written by two people who seem to consider only the impact of computers on the world, this is interesting but it needs a does of reality. How will the world provide the resources to build mobile phones for everyone, to service them, provide electricity everywhere - and deal with issues like food, water, and climate change. Somewhat blinkered to say the least
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on 15 August 2017
A has to be read book, looking at the past, present and future
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on 28 July 2014
This book is so so so brilliant - Only God knows why I hadn't read it earlier. Have even ordered copies for friends! An excellent book.
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VINE VOICEon 11 April 2014
I realise that this book is written by two supermen of our digital era, no doubt with the help of considerable professional support. It's dazzling with information and makes a ringing endorsement of the hype of our digital age. To criticise it will be to generate no doubt a host of unfavourable comment and accusations of being mired in the past. But honestly, although the research on the technologies themselves is excellent - full marks here - this is so framed in adulation it becomes just another overhyped unrealistic catalogue of how technology will save the world.

Technology is brilliant – I love my iPad, the kettle that makes my coffee that's been brought to me by a fair trade value stream all the way from Brazil, the fact that I can post this review into the Internet and it can be read by millions if they wish, that I can talk by Skype to my friends and work colleagues in Australia, America or Denmark, and all at the same time. I love pacemakers and cybernetically controlled automobiles that auto drive. I've made a career in technology since my 20s and worked with many of the world's leading technology firms as a consultant.

But for those reasons I know how easy it is to turn technology into the wonder working Merlin, the magician that will solve all problems, when it cannot and won't.

Let me tell you what the generation of technology pioneers in the 70s and early 80s of last century genuinely believed (I worked for IBM at the time). We believe that in 30 years time, by the beginning of the 21st-century, most people would not need to work more than three days a week and our standard of living would be much greater. Why was this? It was because the computer and robotics were going to remove the necessity to work. Moreover the work that we do would be far more interesting because all of the mundane stuff would be done by computers. People really believed this: is that your experience today?

The Internet is changing the world, but it is for both good and ill. It will create no more community than the telephone or the neighbourhood grapevine. Community is created by socially minded human beings using the means at their disposal. The technologies that we create are created by us, reflecting our natures and by and are used by us reflecting our natures. Whether you watch porn or study chemistry, read the classics online or dump your latest "I am now having coffee in Starbucks" posting to Facebook, depends on you not the Internet. That's why some Twitter feeds are interesting and others not. The Internet will make it easier to have different collections of community and it will provide new games and modes of interaction. But playing bridge with someone in Australia will create no more community than playing bridge in the bridge club down the road or at home. The Internet will make it easier to find scattered people who share your interest perhaps, and this will work as well for the paedophile as a student of alchemy, but you will probably make more intense connections if you meet face-to-face in a physical society.

Technology may help us to solve environmental and energy problems – I certainly hope so. But technology will only really be effective in this sphere when human beings find a right relationship with nature. It is the wrong relationship with nature, not technology, that led to the abuse and destruction of the environment. We didn't care enough when we saw the dying. If we now care enough to want to create technologies to put it right, let us hope that it is because we value nature for itself and not simply to create the next round of control.

So, please read the book for the list of all the things that are likely to be happening – and many of the technologies are either already here or will come, if not when forecast, then before too much longer. But it's down to us what we do with them as to whether they make the world a better place or not. Hyping technology does neither it nor us a service.
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This book comes with impressive credentials. The authors have excellent technology and foreign policy experience. The pair of quotes on the cover are from people with their own brilliance too - Richard Branson and Walter Isaacson. The subject - how digital technology is changing nearly every aspect of our life - is one that fascinates me. So why did I feel getting to the end of it was all rather a slog?

Because it's written in a very flat style. The prose is plain - in a workmanlike rather than Ernest Hemingway sense. The colourful examples are rare and the personal stories to engage the reader few and far between. It's almost as if they had read a Malcolm Gladwell book and gone for a writing style as far different from him as possible.

The other reason that I found it a bit of a slog is that there is nothing much very new in their forecasting. If you've already consumed many words on this topic, it is mostly all very familiar territory. Overall, the book is rather like a large collection of expert, slightly dry, op-ed pieces on the digital world strung together. Each individually is well worth a read, but collectively you would hope for a bit more spark and liveliness.

Conversely, if you haven't, then the book certainly does a good job at thoroughly covering all the angles and mentioning all the main trends. It is also interesting to read what two people so deeply immersed in Google have to say about privacy (it's a crucial part of the future, they argue).

In summary then, the book is a comprehensive summary of existing predictions and trends rather than something that will wow you with original insight or fascinate you with the way the tale is told.
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on 7 December 2014
Jibberish! Just full of speculation and nothing else. Not what I expected. Will be asking Amazon for a refund.
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on 31 December 2015
sound
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on 7 February 2016
Good digital read
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on 2 June 2016
Haven't read it all yet
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on 1 December 2016
fast delivery, everything ok
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