E-books are depriving us of a deeply immersive reading experience, while simultaneously unlocking access to an endless array of content.
Welcome back to another installment of our bi-weekly podcast series, Through a Glass Darkly. In this episode, we dive deep into the world of books. I, the editor-in-chief of Cybernews, am an old-fashioned page turner, while my “opponent” in this podcast, Cybernews senior journalist Gintaras Radauskas, prefers his Kindle.
For my part, I would definitely prefer to steer clear of reading ebooks. Even though e-publishing offers a wide range of options and allows me to access books well in advance of their availability in local bookstores, it evokes uncomfortable associations with social media and endless scrolling for me.
Gintaras, on the other hand, is so used to his e-reader, that I don’t think the format even matters to him much as long as he can comfortably (physical books are less convenient in many situations, I must admit) immerse himself in a book of his choice.
In this 54-minute long episode, we discuss the following:
- Why do we read – books as a source of information versus books as meditation and source of inspiration
- The convenience of e-readers and the variety of choices we are presented with
- The issue of having too much to choose from
- The added value of reading or simply owning a physical book
- The speed of reading, taking notes while reading both physical and digital books
- Has social media networks like Goodreads ruined reading for us?
- The need to brag about books we’ve read
- And many more!
We're talking about this topic because, at Cybernews, we're big fans of reading. We read the best tech and cybersecurity books, write reviews, and share them with you, our awesome readers. So, if you're looking for a good tech book, here are a few of our favorites:
- Blood In The Machine: the origins of the rebellion against big tech. Two centuries after the First Industrial Revolution condemned workers to lives of brutal exploitation in sweatshop factories, history is on the verge of repeating itself, with tech companies like Uber and Amazon degrading the value of our work and living standards. This is the central thesis of Brian Merchant’s 600-page book.
- Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon. Michael Lewis followed the Crypto King for eight months to give us an insight into a strange world where effective altruism went spectacularly wrong.
- Your Face Belongs To Us by New York Times journalist Kashmir Hill. Essentially, the book is a haunting portrait of sci-fi darkness in the real world, and the ultimate villain here is Clearview AI, a secretive facial recognition start-up that has built a huge, searchable database of people’s faces.
- Sentience: The Invention of Consciousness by Oxford professor Nicholas Humphrey. This book serves as an illuminating starting point for those intrigued by the question of whether machines can attain sentience. Last year, a Google engineer's claim of a sentient AI chatbot sparked widespread discourse on the potential for machine sentience. Definitive proof of sentient AI remains elusive, yet it’s unclear for how long.
- Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity, written by Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson. In the book, influential US economists explain how the powerful – be they feudal overlords or modern tech leaders – have always peddled a narrative that what’s good for them is also good for the rest of us. The majority of technology leaders usually say that although there are downsides, AI – and tech in general – will bring widespread economic and societal benefits.
No matter how you do it, reading is a source of inspiration and growth. Subscribe to the Cybernews newsletter to access a treasure trove of exclusive articles, including fresh book reviews.