Free «Review of Carr’s The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google» Essay Paper
The book written by an American writer Nicholas G. Carr (2008) deals with the history of electrification and computing. The author wants his audience to be aware of what modern world offers so that people might make relevant decisions about the choices they face. An analysis of the book shows that the author’s predictions concerning the computing system have partially become a reality at present days.
The book consists of two parts. The first one describes the period during which electrification was technologically limited because of its local generation. Carr (2008) illustrates how technology altered over time by means of electricity becoming networked and centralized. As a result, it changed the way people lived and performed daily activities. The second section refers to the universal computing grid. Carr (2008) describes technological determinism, mainly the reality of human relations with technologies.
Carr (2008) offers numerous examples of the described issues. In The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, he refers to the early days of electrical power to illustrate an analogy to the way information technology evolves. Carr (2008) draws parallels between Edison’s supply of electrical power to the premises of New York and the shared storage offered by such services as Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage) and EC2 (Elastic Computing Cloud). The other example concerns the influence of computing systems on their users. In the final chapter, Carr (2008) disputes how Google attempted to build a system that would deliver global data directly to human brains. For instance, 800-GOOG-411 served as an experiment in voice recognition. The author states that Google engineers admitted that the development of Google Books was aimed not at displaying books for individuals to read, but at improving Artificial Intelligence, which might help to understand the content of those books. Thus, such intelligence would deliver information directly to human brains.
One should underline the fact that the book applies to what people see in media and society at present time. The author’s statement concerning the fact that a computing system turns into a utility and that the impact of such a transition may substantially change society has become a reality. Almost all information-processing tasks that individuals rely on at work and home are handled by data centers provided by the Internet services. In the field of modern media, people draw the attention of others, create social groups and then extract valuable data from them. Hence, one can observe that online media sources are more developed then printed ones. It concerns the publication of news, discussion of global issues at blogs, as well as the spread of video materials via the Internet.
Personally, I agree with Carr’s (2008) statements discussed in the book. The writer argues that some people believe that corporate control is the one dictated by the use of such technologies. However, he proves that the most effective one is the control of consumer conduct, which actually seems to be the case. I also agree with that individuals must begin to take into account how technologies may affect them. For example, some people begin to notice that since they have been placing much data in their cell phones, online calendars, as well as PDAs, human memories become weaker. However, I also noticed some weaknesses of the book. For example, despite describing how the World Wide Computer changes the way of life, Carr (2008) does not focus on personal implications. For instance, he does not discuss how the concept of self-perception and identity might alter, and how the reciprocal relations between people and computers will change.
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In conclusion, the analysis of the book shows that the author’s predictions concerning the computing system have partially become a reality at present days. The data described in two parts may be directly applied to what people see in media and society. Overall, the book serves as a valuable source of information and a basis for the further research of the described issues.
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