The Big Switch

Great excerpt from Nicholas Carr’s new book, The Big Switch:

It’s a stirring thought, but like most myths it’s at best a half-truth and at worst a delusion. Computer systems in general and the Internet in particular put enormous power into the hands of individuals, but they put even greater power into the hands of companies, governments, and other institutions whose business it is to control individuals. Computer systems are not at their core technologies of emancipation. They are technologies of control. They were designed as tools for monitoring and influencing human behavior, for controlling what people do and how they do it. As we spend more time online, filling databases with the details of our lives and desires, software programs will grow ever more capable of discovering and exploiting subtle patterns in our behavior. The people or organizations using the programs will be able to discern what we want, what motivates us, and how we’re likely to react to various stimuli. They will, to use a cliché that happens in this case to be true, know more about us than we know about ourselves.

Read more from this chapter on his blog.

Lots of great tech reading I need to do, including the new Rushkoff and Lanier books…