• The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is

  • A History, a Philosophy, a Warning
  • By: Justin E. H. Smith
  • Narrated by: Tim Fannon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An original deep history of the internet that tells the story of the centuries-old utopian dreams behind it - and explains why they have died today  

Many think of the internet as an unprecedented and overwhelmingly positive achievement of modern human technology. But is it? In The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is, Justin Smith offers an original deep history of the internet, from the ancient to the modern world - uncovering its surprising origins in nature and centuries-old dreams of radically improving human life by outsourcing thinking to machines and communicating across vast distances. Yet, despite the internet’s continuing potential, Smith argues, the utopian hopes behind it have finally died today, killed by the harsh realities of social media, the global information economy, and the attention-destroying nature of networked technology.

Ranging over centuries of the history and philosophy of science and technology, Smith shows how the “internet” has been with us much longer than we usually think. He draws fascinating connections between internet user experience, artificial intelligence, the invention of the printing press, communication between trees, and the origins of computing in the machine-driven looms of the silk industry. At the same time, he reveals how the internet’s organic structure and development root it in the natural world in unexpected ways that challenge efforts to draw an easy line between technology and nature.

Combining the sweep of intellectual history with the incisiveness of philosophy, The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is cuts through our daily digital lives to give a clear-sighted picture of what the internet is, where it came from, and where it might be taking us in the coming decades.

©2022 Justin E. H. Smith (P)2022 Recorded Books

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  • arcos
  • 04-28-22

Author has read a lot

We hear of what seems completely irrelevant, how author has read so much. Not sure if I will finish this ever. Topic is important and the book was promising, but then soon it seemed to be only about how much he has read what people have said about devices in 1940's, not much about what is relevant to anything in this topic. Waste of my time. Maybe the point was to sell a title with interesting topic and preview clip with a rainbow themed cover, and then blast bi/gay men to my feeds online as the result like many times before (most annoying to a heterosexual: weaponized graphics and literature). Deleting a title Audible does not take back after listening 10% maybe seems probable.

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  • Daniel Malone
  • 03-30-22

whipped through it

thought provoking stuff , narration good overall, a few stutters but nothing bad enough to miss the point.