DIGITOPIA: The Look of the New Digital You

Richard J. DeGrandpre, Author DIGITOPIA: The Look of the New Digital You

The advertising suggests that laptops and cell phones will give their users unadulterated freedom by letting them conduct business and trade stocks while sunning on the beach. But the ability to work or shop from home (or, even more insidiously, on vacation) means we are never free from the pressure to earn or spend money, observes DeGrandpre (Ritalin Nation). In this energetic book, he warns that new technologies will enslave rather than free us, and that the experience of being constantly "jacked in" keeps us dangerously alienated from the "here and now" and the mundane but often necessary experiences of everyday social interaction. Yet DeGrandpre does not indict laptops and DVDs per se; his target is what he calls the "digital ethos"—our cultural consensus that faster is always better. For the many whose bodies and minds adapt all too easily to the rapid-fire changes in technological efficiency, he observes, there is a growing digital dependency. In effect, we become addicted to being hyperstimulated and constantly entertained. DeGrandpre's analysis of the generation gap between "wired" children and their "analog" parents is perhaps the most illuminating part of the book. At the same time, he cautions against the complacent fantasy that everyone else is a techno-slave while the reader is somehow free. While some of DeGrandpre's observations will be familiar to anyone who's ever sat on a crowded commuter train, last Christmas's lackluster techno-gadgets sales suggest that this book will find a sympathetic audience, though perhaps one more interested in the print edition than the electronic version. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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