Encyclopaedia of Digital Technology

My friend Dr. Hellmuth Broda, who owns an IT consultancy based in Basel (Switzerland) wrote this very thoughtful review of our book „Digital Enlightenment Now!“, which I would like to share with all of you:

This book is a must read for everybody who has had electricity available during the last couple of years. The authors, Tim Cole and Ossi Urchs, take us on a philosophical, historical and sociological journey on innovation and the thing called Internet, shedding light on diverse aspects that are usually not discussed in a technology context.

In our society we usually witness a lot of technophobia and neophobia—eschewing the new and novel. The book gives us the tools to fence off the doomsayers.

The authors have analyzed the historic context (ancient Greek philosophers, Indian culture, etc.), looked into changes for society and commerce, discussed digitalisation leading to acceleration, pointed out how networking leads to change and predicted an end to the mass media market as we know it today.

The power of networking is explained using Metcalf’s Law and swarm intelligence. The Digital Native is being redefined and the behaviour of the young generation in light of the new technologies is defended—attention disorder (ADHD) might be a gift and not an illness.

Acceleration in network adoption (25% in 2000—85% now) went hand in hand with technical progress: In 20 years our internet speed went from 56 kb/s to 56 Mb/s.

National identity will lose importance, the young generation is pushing for a new understanding of democracy. This trend will affect business: a company that blocks Facebook is becoming “unworkforcable.” Turning into digital Bedouins we will let the border between work hours and off-time blur. Work 2.0 will make the 9—5 job disappear.

Further chapters discuss the diverse aspects of privacy, anonymity and pseudonymity, again in a historical, ethical, societal and business context. These chapters alone are worth getting your hands on the book.

I enjoyed reading this book very much and I will come back to single chapters for re-reading. The authors have to be congratulated for writing such a rich encyclopaedia on the technology that drives our time and affects all aspects of our lives.

Highly recommended—a must read.

Hellmuth Broda

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