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markk

markk

Currently reading

The Sinews of Habsburg Power: Lower Austria in a Fiscal-Military State 1650-1820
William D. Godsey Jr.
Progress: 69/448 pages
Pandora’s Box A History of the First World War
Jörn Leonhard, Patrick Camiller
Progress: 346/1104 pages
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914
Richard J. Evans
Progress: 219/928 pages

How we overestimate technological change

Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change - Bob Seidensticker

This is a fascinating yet flawed book. Robert Seidensticker's argument is that people have long overestimated the speed of technological change, which he demonstrates by surveying the decades of grandiose predictions that have fallen flat. From them he derives a series of "high-tech myths" that serve as a commonality running through many of these overestimates, before concluding by drawing some conclusions as to why people do that and how they might avoid making such mistakes in the future. Seidensticker's thesis is a credible one, and his examples show how it has merit, but his analysis suffers from a degree of confirmation bias by cherry-picking his examples and ignoring or glancing over ones which might require a greater degree of qualification. Had he pursued a more nuanced study he might have produced a more valuable examination of human reaction to technological change, though it would probably not have been as forceful as what he does provide his readers