Much ink has been spilled in recent weeks about two new books, To Save Everything, Click Here by Evgeny Morozov and Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier, taking very different approaches to criticism of our collective behavior on the Internet. Of course, I would like nothing more than to devote serious time to the reading, discussing and perhaps reviewing of serious books. Yet, life being what is it, I only make this happen on summer vacations anymore; and I’m glad a good friend, somewhat quaintly, gave me for my birthday a paper copy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile, so that the sheer material presence of the object might get me to read it, much like a house plant gets you to water it ora a dog to walk it.
But back to Morozov and Lanier. It was only thanks to a tweet by Esther Dyson that I discovered and read this evening a thoughtful piece about the two books written by Maria Bustillos, and I decided that Lanier’s gets the higher spot on my summer reading list. Then I found that Bustillos also wrote a long and worthwhile article on Udacity and MOOCs, which I recommend you read if you liked my short and techno-optimistic blog post about online education last month. Then I had do do some work, and then I have to get some sleep – you know what I mean. If you don’t have time for the books or the debate, do read the articles.
Lanier’s book has two covers, so he gets two pictures in this post. I do prefer the UK one, with its delicate blossoms.