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Extended Audio Sample Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology, by Kentaro Toyama Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kentaro Toyama Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In 2004, Kentaro Toyama, an award-winning computer scientist, moved to India to start a new research group for Microsoft. Its mission: to explore novel technological solutions to the world’s persistent social problems. But after a decade of designing technologies for humanitarian causes, Toyama concluded that no technology, however dazzling, could cause social change on its own.

Technologists and policy makers love to boast about modern innovation, and in their excitement they exuberantly tout technology’s boon to society. But what have our gadgets actually accomplished? Over the last four decades, America saw an explosion of new technologies, but in that same period the rate of poverty stagnated at a stubborn 13 percent, only to rise in the recent recession. A golden age of innovation in the world’s most advanced country did nothing for our most prominent social ill.

Toyama’s warning resounds: Don’t believe the hype! Technology is never the main driver of social progress. Geek Heresy inoculates us against the glib rhetoric of tech utopians by revealing that technology is only an amplifier of human conditions. By telling the moving stories of extraordinary people, Toyama shows that even in a world steeped in technology, social challenges are best met with deeply social solutions.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Toyama’s research reminds us that there are very few one-size-fits-all solutions. If technology is going to improve the lives of the world’s poorest, it must be grounded in a deep understanding of human behavior and an appreciation for cultural differences.”

    Bill Gates

  • The book takes a spike-studded tire iron to the efforts by technology entrepreneurs and their enablers to reimagine how we eat, learn, heal, govern, and battle poverty.”

    New York Times

  • “High-tech insider Kentaro Toyama’s compulsively readable manifesto will change minds about all those new technological quick-fixes for poverty.”

    William Easterly, professor of economics, New York University

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About the Author

Kentaro Toyama is the W. K. Kellogg Associate Professor of Community Information at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. He is also coeditor in chief of the journal Information Technologies and International Development and cofounder of Microsoft Research India. He lives in Michigan.