World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech (Franklin Foer)
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Non-fiction works are about opportunity. If you are the author, it is your hope that you have found a worthwhile niche that merits description sufficient to fill a volume and, ideally, improve the literature and perhaps even your name. If you are the publisher, your analysis (mostly craft still, despite the algorithms of our age) should hopefully meet or be surpassed by sales fed by glowing reviews on Amazon. And if you are the reader, it is your hope that the time and money you spend reading the work will impart knowledge or, at the very least, valuable information.
Franklin Foer’s “World Without Mind” is no different from any other work of nonfiction in that he clearly imagined an opportunity to describe what he sees as one of humanity’s most profound challenges: whether computing (broadly writ) will eat not just our lunch but our souls. From the title you see that his ambition is lofty and commendable. Students of history will remember that “World History” was roundly criticized by...