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Geek Heresy

Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781610395298

Price: $15.99 / $19.99 (CAD)

ON SALE: May 26th 2015

Genre: Nonfiction / Business & Economics / Development / Economic Development

PAGE COUNT: 352

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Hardcover
After 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 can’t deliver.

Computers in Bangalore are locked away in dusty cabinets because teachers don’t 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 Ghana’s 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 it’s human wisdom, not machines, that move our world forward.

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Reader Reviews

Praise


“It is notable…when a techie insider steps outside the tent to chastise his tribe at book length — and has the gall to both criticize and dedicate the book to his former boss, Bill Gates. Kentaro Toyama, a computer scientist who once ran a lab for Microsoft Research, seems determined to burn his bridge to the technology world with Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology... 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.”—Anand Giridharadas, New York Times

“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. …Geek Heresy is a heartwarming reminder that it's human wisdom, not machines, that move our world forward.” —National Geographic Online

“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, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-
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