Monday, September 28, 2015

Nicholas Carr’s The Glass Cage: review by Don LeBlanc, MLS

Nicholas Carr is the author of several books on the interaction of information and computers. The book The Glass Cage looks at several pit falls of our reliance on computers.  A history of automation explains the counterintuitive nature of the process.

An analogy of his logic would be that computers produce a homogenized summary of the data we give them and this summary lacks the richness to really understand the phenomenon we are hoping to grasp. Instead of a true understanding we get a solution generated by rule based statistics, a generalization lacking in nuance, a ham and cheese sandwich with no garnishment or condiments. Consider the person on vacation, blindly following the instructions on his GPS and missing the cues on a paper map to interesting points of local culture, or if overly distracted by the navigation tool, misses the visual cues that he has wandered into an intersection with a high probability of carjacking. The point being that modern conveniences can expedite a trip but bypasses what may make the journey worthwhile.

This book is a concise attempt at presenting a far more accurate depiction of a generally misunderstood social misperception.  Realizing the limitations of a system allows one to adapt to maximize its potential and in the end its performance that counts. By reading Mr. Carr’s works one can harvest more from your computer efforts or avoid hidden traps that might denigrate those efforts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.