Zoe Corbyn in the Guardian on Nick Carr’s The Glass Cage:
Not everyone buys Carr’s gloomy argument. People have always lamented the loss of skills due to technology: think about the calculator displacing the slide rule, says Andrew McAfee, a researcher at the MIT Sloan School of Management. But on balance, he says, the world is better off because of automation.
Ah, the perils of writing about a book you clearly haven’t read – either that, or the perils of a journalistic model that requires you to set up simplistic oppositions. By contrast, from my review of The Glass Cage:
It cannot be stressed too strongly that resistance does not entail rejection. Carr makes this point repeatedly. “Computer automation makes our lives easier, our chores less burdensome. We’re often able to accomplish more in less time—or to do things we simply couldn’t do before.” And: “Automation and its precursor, mechanization, have been marching forward for centuries, and by and large our circumstances have improved greatly as a result. Deployed wisely, automation can relieve us of drudge work and spur us on to more challenging and fulfilling endeavors.”
Carr could have said something like that on every single page of his book and people would still say, “I don’t agree with Carr that we should eliminate automation.”