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“Technopoly is a diatribe against technology and scientism as religion, a religion which Postman believed is rapidly overtaking America to the detriment of traditional religion and culture. Postman raises the questions: what are the consequences of technology on society and why don't we care? He...”see full review » see other reviews »
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“He things technology will be our undoing.”see full review » see other reviews »
“Postman is much better known for one of his previous books: Amusing Ourselves to Death, a critique of television and its culture. If you've not read that book, I recommend it. Technopoly might be described as the same argument in more general terms. I went back and re-read Postman's chapter on Medical Technology--since I read it more than ten years ago before I had worked in the field of medical device development. He has some startling statistics, a few citations that I wonder about, and I cannot judge of his quantitative data. What I can say is that he points out examples of technology's power to create, not just devices or machines, but technological systems that carry other things in their wake. He is probably not where Jacques Ellul was, but his sympathies with Ellul are clearly seen here. It is a common theme in Postman's writing that technology is not neutral, but carries with it biases that affect its use and effect on culture. Technologies are idea-laden. Recognizing that when technology gives it also takes away is a huge step in evaluating the technologies we develop and use, True, we cannot always anticipate all these uses or all their effects, but if we fail to even consider we will fail more catastrophically.”Carl Gauger wrote this review Saturday, February 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Another interesting (and dated) book from the author of "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (previously reviewed) and lots of other books. Postman was the head of the New York University Department of Communication when he wrote Technopoly. Technopoly is defined as "the submission of all forms of cultural life to the sovereignty of technique and technology" and despite the religiosity of the US, seems to make its home base in the US. This book is a discussion of the consequences of embracing technopoly, and a little bit of a prescription for how to avoid the worst consequences. Postman's mission is clearly hopeless, but his thoughts are fascinating. ”Neil Crocker wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“He things technology will be our undoing.”Sasha R wrote this review Sunday, July 31, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Some good points, but overall technology ends up being pretty good. He does say that he is taking the contrarian view though.”William S wrote this review Tuesday, February 2, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Another book that I read for my Master's in Information Technology. It describes the communication and technology paradigm shift in our society in the early 1990's. ”Richard B wrote this review Monday, July 27, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Brilliant. A must-read for all. ”Lauren H wrote this review Sunday, March 15, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Technopoly is a diatribe against technology and scientism as religion, a religion which Postman believed is rapidly overtaking America to the detriment of traditional religion and culture. Postman raises the questions: what are the consequences of technology on society and why don't we care? He correctly describes our fascination with science (accepting it as ultimate truth) numbers (assigning numbers to things that don't make sense to ascribe numbers to, like intelligence) efficiency (which is seen as an end rather than a means) and productivity.
He describes how we have gotten to the state where (just read a church growth book) where we view people not as children of God but as consumers in a market. Technology, though not evil in itself, should be used as a tool and should not use us! He is emphatic in noting that we must take into account the ramifications of technology on culture. For instance, what have the ramifications of penicillin and modern medicine been on prayer? Though few would argue that penicillin is bad, it is unfortunate that we have allowed scientific advancement to so influence religious doctrine with so little recourse.
There is really too much to get into in a short review, but Postman describes a world in which science excludes the belief that non-scientific knowledge (such as theology) is valid. We have such an information overload that people consume information rather than gain knowledge. The world that we live in devalues the old and makes useless the knowledge of the elderly and the ancients. It destroys symbols and strips them of value and meaning. It alienates people from each other. His is a bleak picture of the culmination of the modern world, but unlike postmodern philosophers, Postman refuses to find the answers from within, as if we are somehow disassociated from the past and rather points us to history and tradition to guide and critique our future.
He challenges us to consider the meanings of words and questions. To value relationships over efficiency. To value and study the great narratives of religion and consider non-scientific forms of truth. To have respect and regard for the aged and their traditions. To value symbols and refuse to strip them of their meaning. To consider the consequences of technological advancement, to admire it and use it, but not to think of it as the highest possible form of human achievement.
Excellent book, highest possible recommendation. ”