* Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future sets out, it claims, to help us cope with fast technological change, but it often reads more as a book-length paean to the MIT Media Lab, where the two authors work, and even more awkward, to Joi Ito, the first author. Too bad, since beyond the hubris are some interesting concepts, especially showing how static, top-down institutions fare badly in a fast-moving present, let alone future. The book is also filled with fun facts of all kinds, including celebrating the 1860s machinist that proposed a standard thread profile for screws (thank you, William Sellers).

Sadly, the book seems to be written from a bubble of wealth, education, and ultimate comfort and control of technology, with crippling blind spots.  For instance, the authors marvel that a Canadian handyman who dropped out of a physics PhD program to take care of his parents is a great inventor, proving that anyone can do R&D (really!) and their adventures in the wilds of Detroit, MI, to help citizens brave the streets at night are especially awkward. We want people who invent, fearlessly, but perhaps they should not try to philosophize too much.

 

The bubble in who

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