RaveThe Observer (UK)... better sourced than all of its predecessors in the genre ... The co-authors’ exhumation of these ghastly skeletons makes for gripping as well as depressing reading ... splendid.
RaveThe Guardian (UK)... the most accessible and best informed account we have had to date of China’s transition from what scholars such as Rebecca MacKinnon used to call \'networked authoritarianism\' to what is now a form of networked totalitarianism ... All of this and much more is energetically related by Strittmatter. The more one reads, the more pressing one conclusion becomes: almost everything we thought we knew about contemporary China is wrong ... If nothing else, this book should give us pause for thought.
RaveThe Guardian (UK)...an invaluable primer on psychological warfare and behavior modification ... Given that Wylie was at the heart of this work, and that he displayed real sociological understanding of what the data was revealing, his account provides a useful, crystal-clear exposition of the power of psychographic profiling when it’s done right. And it suggests that electoral campaigning has now moved on to a different level.
RaveThe Observer (UK)...fascinating ... The closing part of the book is a riveting account of the way Snowden went about acquiring documentary evidence of the tools and approaches that the NSA developed in order to comply with the \'never again\' orders they had received from their political masters in the wake of 9/11 ... He is also refreshingly frank about the emotional torment that this secretive project imposed on him, particularly his anguish at having suddenly to abandon his beloved girlfriend, Lindsay, without being able to give her any warning of what he was about to do. If anybody thinks that whistleblowing is easy, then they haven’t ever done it.
RaveThe Guardian[An] excellent critique ... a clear analysis of the social harm that [Facebook] is fostering. For this we need good, informed critiques such as this book. Given Facebook’s dominance, it will be a long haul [to political will], but then, as the Chinese say, the longest journey begins with a single step. Professor Vaidhyanathan has just taken it.
PositiveThe GuardianInto this maelstrom steps Andrew Keen, a tech commentator who never drank the Silicon Valley Kool-Aid. In three earlier books he provided an ongoing, scathing critique of tech evangelism. His scepticism now looks prescient: he understood the significance of what was happening earlier than most. With his new book, Keen switches from sarcasm to a kind of pragmatic optimism. Our digital future can be shaped in more humane directions, he argues. But for that to happen we need to be realistic about the scale of the challenge, to learn from history and accept that there are no magic bullets or technological fixes. Like Churchill, he offers mostly blood, sweat and tears; but at least he has a programme of what needs to be done. ... None of these ideas is new, though many of them are regarded as unthinkable. But the history of society’s responses to the abuses of earlier industrial eras suggests that appropriate remedies have always been regarded as unthinkable – until reforms were implemented. It’s not all that long ago, after all, that we used to send small boys up chimneys, or that arsenic was available from street-corner apothecaries. Which is why it makes sense, as Keen seeks to do, to take the long view of our current dilemmas.
Garry Kasparov with Mig Greengard
RaveThe Guardian...what makes his book fascinating is that he uses it to reflect on what it was like to have been defeated by a machine and on the more general implications of that experience ... Even for readers with only a passing interest in chess, it’s an absorbing, page-turning thriller that weaves a personal account of intellectual combat with the wider picture of what it’s like to come up against a powerful corporation that is determined to do whatever it takes to crush opposition. So this isn’t just a tale of human versus machine – it’s also a story about one man versus The Man ... by the end of the book, he has arrived at a more enlightened view of machine intelligence than most people in the tech industry, who are obsessed with machines that will replace people.
RaveThe Guardian...a bracing, unromantic account of how the internet was captured ... The three great monopolies of the digital world have followed the Thiel playbook and Taplin does a good job of explaining how each of them works and how, strangely, their vast profits are never 'competed away.' He also punctures the public image so assiduously fostered by Google and Facebook – that they are basically cool tech companies run by good chaps who are hellbent on making the world a better place – whereas, in fact, they are increasingly hard to distinguish from the older brutes of the capitalist jungle ... Move Fast and Break Things is a timely and useful book because it provides an antidote to the self-serving narrative energetically cultivated by the digital monopolies.