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6 teosta 1,066 jäsentä 8 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Sisältää nimen: Edward Tenner

Image credit: 2018 National Book Festival By Avery Jensen - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72641791

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not as interesting as the title implies
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ritaer | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 23, 2021 |
warning: Don't invite the author of this book to your dinner party. What a downer. I understand the book is about how we mess things up while were trying to do other things but I mean, we do manage to do other things. We haven't come here just to ruin everything. Not that interesting. Wouldn't recommend.
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rickycatto | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 9, 2020 |
The examples used to support the author's narrative are generally communicated superficially and almost exclusively cover "well known stuff." Exxon Valdez, kudzu, helmets leading to riskier behavior, carp, zebra mussels, etc. - all subjects well covered in popular culture. Perhaps these were largely new issues in 1997, but the text doesn't age well.

I started skimming about 1/3rd of the way in because I wasn't seeing new information or a clear narrative emerging.

Also, I don't think it's good form to imply that antibiotics allowing sick people/children to live is an example of a negative impact. There's some room to explore the issues related to chronic illness expansion on the work force and health care expenses, but this text doesn't do that well (chapter 3).… (lisätietoja)
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sarcher | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 13, 2018 |
The Law of Diminishing Returns Strikes Back

The Efficiency Paradox can be seen in the example of Amazon.com. At first, the convenience of ordering online was a huge productivity boon for consumers. But as Amazon pursued its expansion to make every part of life more productive, free shipping has turned consumers into impulse buyers. Instead of piling up orders to save on shipping and packaging, we order nearly daily, resulting in a huge overhang of cardboard boxes and sealed air pouches we cannot recycle profitably – or at all. Similarly, thanks to the internet, travel has become so complicated that middlemen – travel agents – have made an impressive comeback from extinction. The Internet of Things requires a whole new layer of security measures just so your fridge can order more milk. “Progress toward greater efficiency is wasteful,” says Edward Tenner.

Efficiency builds in rigidity. You cannot stray from the straight and narrow. Serendipity is banished from the premises. The closest serendipity comes is finding out someone you know is in the same restaurant. It doesn’t help meeting new people at the next table, also staring down at their phones. Tenner has filled the book with endless examples from endless industries, from education to health to high tech. It’s easy to find examples. We live with them all day.

There are two problems with the book. First, it is almost entirely top line. Tenner skims a phone book’s worth of examples. And though his choices are interesting, many of them are debatable and less than thoroughly examined. The second problem is that this applies to pretty much everything ever touched by Man. The “old skills” have been disappearing for centuries. Life continues to become far too complicated for us to master all the manual skills we’ve dropped. Life is not really any easier. We’ve simply traded off skills for convenience. All our ”labor-saving” devices have translated into chronic, eternal stress. Studies continually show people are much happier and relaxed without fitbit and facebook.

And the point Tenner never makes is why all this is happening at all. The answer is capitalism. It is an unstoppable race to squeeze efficiency out of every aspect of life. Capitalism means more and more gadgets, services and automation. It means robot doctors, faceless meetings and the shortest distance between two points, even if the road is gravel. Because there’s a buck to be made.

Tenner concludes with the hope that analog will be able to coexist with digital, because both have much to offer.

It’s not that simple.

David Wineberg
… (lisätietoja)
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DavidWineberg | Dec 8, 2017 |

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