The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Carr's back with another look at the dangers in store for us if we rely too heavily on technology. His new argument is that automation--from stock trading software to GPS and even to autopilot and the heralded Google self-driving car--has ramifications ranging from the decline of our abilities, sucking the joy out of life in unexpected ways, and the stratification of labor as more jobs are made obsolete by advances in artificial intelligence. For the anti-tech crowd, this thorough, detailed work puts words to hesitations some people have about the increasing role of technology. For early-adopters and tech enthusiasts, even if you disagree with Carr's conclusions you'll enjoy the intellectual exercise of engaging with his ideas.

— From Ann's Picks


Drawing on psychological and neurological studies that underscore how tightly people's happiness and satisfaction are tied to performing hard work in the real world, Carr reveals something we already suspect: shifting our attention to computer screens can leave us disengaged and discontented.

From nineteenth-century textile mills to the cockpits of modern jets, from the frozen hunting grounds of Inuit tribes to the sterile landscapes of GPS maps, The Glass Cage explores the impact of automation from a deeply human perspective, examining the personal as well as the economic consequences of our growing dependence on computers.

With a characteristic blend of history and philosophy, poetry and science, Carr takes us on a journey from the work and early theory of Adam Smith and Alfred North Whitehead to the latest research into human attention, memory, and happiness, culminating in a moving meditation on how we can use technology to expand the human experience.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393240764
ISBN-10: 0393240762
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 29th, 2014
Pages: 288
Language: English