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Radical Technologies
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Listen in 39 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Adam Greenfield

Radical Technologies

Technological innovations and their implications

Who knows how to explain what the blockchain is, in their own words? And how many people know how algorithms work? The secret of the immense powers of revolutionary technologies which invade our daily lives, is hidden behind complex terminology that only adds to its mystery. And while we are still trying to understand it, this tech transforms us into data, analyses our habits and records our deepest desires, leaving us extremely vulnerable. In his book, Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life, Adam Greenfield sheds some light on the possible implications of the new frontiers of progress, encouraging us to reflect and to take action in order to prevent a future in which humanity loses its power and purpose to machines.

Radical Technologies
Read in 31 min.
Listen in 39 min.

If we want to enjoy the luxury of choice in our future, we need to learn to understand new technologies

The history of humankind is facing an enormous turning point: a new technological era in which data and machines will become fundamental links in the fabric of our society, drastically revolutionising social, economic and political rules. Thanks to both the blessing, and the curse, that new invasive technology represents in our daily lives, our every movement, habit, expenditure, gesture and even thought and desire is transformed into a flow of data, which fires up limitless systems and machines that are both vast and difficult to understand. While in the past, our daily life took place on a landscape that we understood, even if we did not have a complete view of it, today we can see and measure everything that surrounds us down to the tiniest little detail. Nonetheless, this constant and enhanced vision does not give us greater control: everything we do is recorded, everything is monitored, but we never know exactly by whom, how and where this data is used, or which of our many actions are in fact recorded. We do not have this information because within this sophisticated technological system, which is rapidly becoming our preferred method of interacting with the world around us, the necessary knowledge and the opportunity to contribute to its design, are not evenly distributed, and many of us do not even have the basic understanding to be able to view it from a critical perspective. Meanwhile, we allow ourselves to be soothed by the apparent wellbeing and convenience that these technologies offer, and we choose to turn a blind eye to their effects, both present and future, knowing that this flow of information will have an enormous impact on a society which is so familiar to us today, rendering  it completely unrecognisable and perhaps even unbearable, within just a few years, . If we want to be able to take stock of the current situation and be prepared for the imminent changes that are inevitably coming our way, we would do well to learn to understand and to recognise each of the technological innovations that are currently underway, their pros and cons, and the clear and not so clear reasons for which they were created. The only way to truly form a critical opinion. and maintain our right to choose, even if it is only minimal, is to closely examine these new technological innovations, their implications and their possible future impact.


The key ideas of "Radical Technologies"

If we want to enjoy the luxury of choice in our future, we need to learn to understand new technologies
The smartphone is the cause of the critical issues linked to the dematerialisation of objects
The Internet of Things (IoT) gathers data but its use is still not completely clear
Augmented and virtual reality could create addiction and completely change the way places look
Digital production can democratise processes and give capitalism a shock
The use of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain could improve politics and society as a whole
Automation could mean that many people lose their jobs and life could become more difficult for everyone else
Machine learning and algorithms still have too many unknown features to be fully understood
Artificial intelligence has already overcome the taboos of art and spirituality and is now going further
New technologies are here to stay
Take-home message
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