Book choice for January 2018

Alone Together [suggested by Uzma Ali]

Alone Together

Technology has become the architect of our intimacies. Online, we fall prey to the illusion of companionship, gathering thousands of Twitter and Facebook friends, and confusing tweets and wall posts with authentic communication. But this relentless connection leads to a deep solitude. MIT professor Sherry Turkle argues that as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down. Based on hundreds of interviews and with a new introduction taking us to the present day, Alone Together describes changing, unsettling relationships between friends, lovers, and families. [product description from Amazon ]

The novel has its own website.

 

Author's Wikipedia page.
Author's website.

 

Shortlisted for this month

The book selector for the month can choose up to three books for nomination. This month Uz's selections, on the theme of the impact of technology on our lives, were:

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy

Full title Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. Unusually, Amazon doesn't hold any description of the content of this work, so here's an extract from a review by Amazon Top 500 Reviewer David Wineberg:
Anonymous is almost certainly not what you think it is. You have to live it to understand it, its implications, its functioning, and its place in society. Gabrielle Coleman lived it, as a fully disclosed academic anthropologist. This is her story as much as theirs.

The structure of Anonymous is like the structure of the internet: multiple channels, multiple entry points, self healing patches, and lots of redundancy. (Also lots of swearing, lots of personal attacks, and lots of suspicions. Testosterone is involved.) This enables a totally flat organization to achieve in minutes what giant corporations and government take years to effect. The exhilaration, the joy, the satisfaction participants savor is incomparable. Anonymous is far more than a labor of love; it is idealists executing on their dreams. Everyone should be jealous.

Gabriella Coleman hitched a ride on some of those dreams, and was clearly jealous. She goes so far as to express the compulsion, the adrenaline rush, and the thrill of watching it happen live. The characters are as richly detailed as any in fiction. There are heroes and villains, victims and survivors. There are plot twists and subplots. It covers roughly four years in which Coleman got close enough to many of the characters as to meet in person, something totally alien to the whole concept. Often as not, they confounded her assumptions.

You can read the rest of that review here.

Author's Wikipedia page.
Author's website.

 

Data and Goliath

Data and Goliath

Your cell phone provider tracks your location and knows who's with you. Your online and in-store purchasing patterns are recorded and reveal if you're unemployed, sick or pregnant. Your emails and texts expose your intimate and casual friends. Google knows what you're thinking because it saves your private searches. Facebook can determine your sexual orientation without you ever mentioning it. The powers that surveil us do more than simply store this information. Corporations use surveillance to manipulate not only the news articles and advertisements we each see, but also the prices we're offered. Governments use surveillance to discriminate, censor, chill free speech, and put people in danger worldwide. And both sides share this information with each other or, even worse, lose it to cybercriminals in huge data breaches. Much of this is voluntary: we cooperate with corporate surveillance because it promises us convenience, and we submit to government surveillance because it promises us protection. The result is a mass surveillance society of our own making. But have we given up more than we've gained? In Data and Goliath, security expert Bruce Schneier offers another path, one that values both security and privacy. He brings his bestseller up-to-date with a new preface covering the latest developments, and then shows us exactly what we can do to reform government surveillance programs, shake up surveillance-based business models, and protect our individual privacy. You'll never look at your phone, your computer, your credit cards or even your car in the same way again. [Product description from Amazon]

The book has an entry on the author's website.

Author's Wikipedia page.
Author's website.

 

 

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