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Meganets: How Digital Forces Beyond Our Control Commandeer Our Daily Lives and Inner Realities

Release date: 6 April 2023
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How the autonomous digital forces jolting our lives - as uncontrollable as the weather and plate ... Read More

Product Description

How the autonomous digital forces jolting our lives - as uncontrollable as the weather and plate tectonics - are transforming life, society, culture, and politics.

David Auerbach's exploration of the phenomenon he has identified as the meganet begins with a simple, startling revelation: There is no hand on the tiller of some of the largest global digital forces that influence our daily lives: from corporate sites such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, YouTube, Instagram, and Reddit to the burgeoning metaverse encompassing cryptocurrencies and online gaming to government systems such as China's Social Credit System and India's Aadhaar.

As we increasingly integrate our society, culture and politics within a hyper-networked fabric, Auerbach explains how the interactions of billions of people with unfathomably large online networks have produced a new sort of beast: ever-changing systems that operate beyond the control of the individuals, companies, and governments that created them.

Meganets, Auerbach explains, have a life of their own, actively resisting attempts to control them as they accumulate data and produce spontaneous, unexpected social groups and uprisings that could not have even existed twenty years ago. And they constantly modify themselves in response to user behavior, resulting in collectively authored algorithms none of us intend or control. These enormous invisible organisms exerting great force on our lives are the new minds of the world, increasingly commandeering our daily lives and inner realities.

Auerbach's analysis of these gargantuan opaque digital forces yield important insights such as:

- The conventional wisdom that the Googles and Facebook of this world are tightly run algorithmic entities is a myth. No one is really in control.

- The efforts at reform - to get lies and misinformation off meganets - run into a brick wall because the companies and executives who run them are trapped by the persistent, evolving, and opaque systems they have created.

- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are uncontrollable and their embrace by elite financial institutions threatens the entire economy

- We are asking the wrong questions in assuming that if only the Facebooks of this world could be better regulated or broken up that they would be better, more ethical citizens

- Why questions such as making algorithms fair and bias-free and whether AI can be a tool for good or evil are wrong and misinformed

Auerbach then comes full circle, showing that while we cannot ultimately control meganets we can tame them through the counterintuitive measures he describes in detail.

Product Details

Title: Meganets: How Digital Forces Beyond Our Control Commandeer Our Daily Lives and Inner Realities
Author: David Auerbach
Publisher: Hachette Book Group USA
SKU: BK0475516
EAN: 9781541774445
Number Of Pages: 352
Language: English
Binding: Hardcover
Country Of Origin: India
Release date: 6 April 2023

About Author

David B. Auerbach is the author of Meganets: How Digital Forces Beyond Our Control Commandeer Our Daily Lives and Inner Realities (PublicAffairs, 2023) and Bitwise: A Life in Code (Pantheon, 2018). He is a writer, technologist, and software engineer who has worked Google and Microsoft after graduating from Yale University. In addition to scholarly research on James Joyce, William Shakespeare, and artificial intelligence, his writing has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, MIT Technology Review, The Nation, n+1, Tablet, The Daily Beast, and Bookforum, among many other publications. He was Slate’s technology columnist from 2013 to 2016, and he was nominated for a National Magazine Award for his coverage of the HealthCare.gov hearings. He has lectured around the world on technology, literature, philosophy, and stupidity. Auerbach graduated from Yale University with a degree in computer science and was a 2016 New America fellow. He lives in New York City with his family and 5,000 books. His website is https://davidauerba.ch

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