Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology by Kentaro ToyamaAfter a decade designing technologies meant to address education, health, and global poverty, award-winning computer scientist Kentaro Toyama came to a difficult conclusion: Even in an age of amazing technology, social progress depends on human changes that gadgets cant deliver.
Computers in Bangalore are locked away in dusty cabinets because teachers dont know what to do with them. Mobile phone apps meant to spread hygiene practices in Africa fail to improve health. Executives in Silicon Valley evangelize novel technologies at work even as they send their children to Waldorf schools that ban electronics. And four decades of incredible innovation in America have done nothing to turn the tide of rising poverty and inequality. Why then do we keep hoping that technology will solve our greatest social ills?
In this incisive book, Toyama cures us of the manic rhetoric of digital utopians and reinvigorates us with a deeply people-centric view of social change. Contrasting the outlandish claims of tech zealots with stories of people like Patrick Awuah, a Microsoft millionaire who left his engineering job to open Ghanas first liberal arts university, and Tara Sreenivasa, a graduate of a remarkable South Indian school that takes impoverished children into the high-tech offices of Goldman Sachs and Mercedes-Benz, Geek Heresy is a heartwarming reminder that its human wisdom, not machines, that move our world forward.
We live in an age of technological utopianism. The solution, according to this way of thinking, is to increase opportunity. Take a kid from an illiterate family in India, for example. In Geek Heresy , Kentaro Toyama dismantles the idea that we can solve big social problems if we just apply the right technology to them. He writes from experience with that topic. It requires nuance and humanity. Most important, perhaps, nurturing is not very scalable.
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Digital initiatives for social causes are everywhere these days—from laptops in education to social media for political activism. Especially in a world of abundant technology, it's all the more important that we focus on human heart, mind, and will. Join us at the EFF office for this special book talk event on the evening of Wednesday July 8th, pm. We will follow this event with a casual happy hour event on the patio. Copies of the book will be available for sale and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to EFF. Kentaro Toyama is W.
After a decade designing technologies meant to address education, health, and global poverty, award-winning computer scientist Kentaro Toyama came to a.
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