By Gene I. Rochlin
Regardless of a name and a canopy designed to snatch the demographic who reads stressed journal, this ebook is among the sanest, such a lot well-reasoned and well-researched books at the sociology of computing that i've got ever learn. To my brain, the publication simply areas Rochlin one of the ranks of Langdon Winner and Jacques Ellul. whereas 'gurus' like Esther Dyson and Sherry Turkle proceed to churn out fluff books in regards to the manner computing is 'revolutionizing' our lives, Rochlin returns to a old fashioned little perform a few humans used to name 'research'. As a working laptop or computer structures engineer, i've been within the lengthy adequate to determine the informal contempt that the majority technologists have for the consumer groups they serve, and that i enjoy Rochlin's nuanced efforts to provide old context to those attitudes. Ours is an filled with pampered whiners who inherited an intolerance for responsibility and self-scrutiny from the think-tank darlings of the 50s and 60s, as Rochlin exhibits. This critique aren't a welcome one for plenty of, and Rochlin can be accused of Luddism. yet any such declare laid opposed to a guy who was once a physicist for a decade is ridiculous. Rochlin not just exposes the irresponsibility of attitudes within the developer group, but additionally offers a welcome tonic to the hyperbole and snake-oil claims made approximately electronic productiveness profits and clever machines. while you are a dependable technologist and never easily one other zealot who prays to the fake totems of AI and the 'digital revolution', you are going to breathe a sigh of reduction that eventually anyone wrote this booklet.
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Extra resources for Trapped in the Net
Networking has increased the availability and accessibility of data by orders of magnitude: by one recent estimate, the Internet already makes available to even the casual user several million megabytes of online, public data—a digital “encyclopedia” roughly a thousand times the length of the Encyclopedia Britannica. 9 But this aspect of networking, however challenging, still lies within the domain where computers are only substituting for what humans cannot do very well—data storage and processing.
Proposed solutions for meeting the technical implementation requirements while meeting these objectives quickly converged on the notion of transmitting packets of information that contained within them a code indicating how the packet had been assembled, by whom, and for whom it was destined. To allow for redundancy and multiple channels, and to prevent tying up any one line for the long time needed to send a sizeable message at telephone speeds, some method would be needed to interleave them. The best way was to break up each message into small packets, each marked with an ID code that also indicated what part of which message it belonged to.
Most of those who have pointed out the problems, including Landauer, are not really outside the community of developers and designers at all. They are dissidents within it. 50 There is a growing reform movement based on the notion of useroriented or user-centered design, which does at least accept as a founding principle the need to find out what it is that users want, or need,51 but it is not clear how widespread an effect this has outside the circle of thoughtful critics. 52 Designers and users come from different communities, they work in different environments and different organizational contexts, they have different goals and different means.
Trapped in the Net by Gene I. Rochlin