The Glass Cage

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I'm over a year into my work toward a PhD and one of my favorite classes so far has been one that focused on the blend of two of my favorite academic-y things: books and technology. In this case it was a focus on reading books about technology, an area in which my curiosity is completely insatiable. Although several of the books I read for this particular class shared a common theme, each served a uniquely individual focus point in the realm of ethics and technology.

The Glass Cage, a very well-written book by Nicholas Carr, first scared the hooey out of me because it includes excruciating details about all the ways automation can fail...starting and ending with the number of plane crashes that have been caused by autopilot. He talks about pilots' loss of life-saving fine motor skills due to automation, and compares that to the evolution of society we see trending as a byproduct of mass outsourcing and automation. It's brilliant, fascinating, terrifying stuff. 

Carr prompts readers to embrace that which makes us uniquely human. He writes that “The trouble with automation is that it often gives us what we don’t need at the cost of what we do” (pg. 14). Of all the sentiments I’ve read and considered about automation specifically as it relates to the impact on humanity, this statement is one of the best that resonates with me. 

As an instructional technology advocate, this book and others like it are a great anchor for reflective - and therefore effective - use of instructional technology. 

Carr, N. (2015). The glass cage: How our computers are changing us, 1st Ed.