Friday, October 10, 2014
The Globe and Mail is underwhelmed by the new Douglas Coupland.
Coupland is right that technological advancement deserves meditation on these positives and negatives, and that sometimes it seems like “this sort of reflection is nonexistent.” This has been a truism of technological philosophy since McLuhan, and even since Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology (1954). But isn't this book – or any piece of sci-fi doomsday prophecy about sentient computers enslaving mankind – precisely that sort of reflection? Coupland seems to believe that companies should be mulling over the far-reaching, abstracted end-results of their R&D, that they should retain an in-house media guru. But can he really believe that CEOs are debating the deeper ethics of their bottom line?... When he gets to them, Coupland’s conclusions feel more like premises: the Internet connects people! The Internet is good… but also, sometimes bad! We prefer faster Internet to slower Internet! That he arrives at these basic deductions while sipping literal scotch in a glass tower overlooking Shanghai is nothing short of infuriating; a caricature of a man out-of-touch.
He did once coin the term Microserfs, which sums up modern work more succinctly than a stack of Harvard Business Reviews.
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