Friday, 30 March 2018

Review: The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball

The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball by Noam Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where would you be without the internet? You are reading this review on a device of some kind, and if you are like most people then you will have shopped recently on it, chatted with someone on a social website, done a little research, and faffed around quite a lot no doubt. It is now one of life's essentials along with power and water, and if you have teenagers then you know for them it is their lifeblood.

There are a number of people who have been in the driving of this profound change to the way that society functions now, Berners-Lee was the man who created the world wide web that sits on the internet, but this book is concerned with some of the greatest entrepreneurs who have made their mark in cyberspace and the world.

There is a chapter with an interesting profile of eleven of the most influential individuals who have shaped the web that we use today, including Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook as well as one of the first, Marc Andreessen creator of Netscape (remember that?). They have all become rich from their creations, but though the money is important to these men, and they are all men, , they are driven by the desire to be number one in their sphere and to form the world around them as they see fit, demanding that freedom of speech and individuality should have precedence over regulations and laws. As much as these men dislike and abhor oversight and control of big government, the way that they run the companies is not dissimilar to that of a dictatorship.

These websites now rule our lives, they have permeated our lives in so many ways and we now rely on them. They have countless reams data acquired from us legitimately and surreptitiously, as with a lot of these you are the product. Given the continued fallout from the Cambridge Analytical and Facebook, this is a subject that will have a keener eye turned on it in the coming months. I thought that the conclusion was very sparse as he could have been much more critical of the major players. It could have also had more to say about the future of the web, for example, what happens after Google? However, it was an interesting start to a conversation that has a long way to go.

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  1. I do like a tech history book and this sounds very interesting. Is the 3 stars because of the lack of critical writing and conclusion?

  2. That is it in a nutshell, it should have been more robust and offered suggestions to improve the current status quo.

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