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The digital spectrum

Is the web 2.0 revolution making us more co-operative, or is it turning us into vulgar narcissists who can't relate to one another? Three recent books offer differing views of what technology is doing to our humanity

By Andrew Keen   May 2008

Against the Machine by Lee Siegel (Spiegel & Grau, $9.99)

We-Think by Charles Leadbeater (Profile, £12.99)

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (Allen Lane, £20)

Central to these three books is an old idea: that technology is a “locomotive” revolutionising society. Where the authors differ is in their views as to where the locomotive is pulling us. Lee Siegel is a pessimist who believes that information technology is destroying society; Clay Shirky and Charles Leadbeater are optimists who think it is enabling us to realise ourselves as social beings.

The locomotive may be old and dirty, but it does…

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