The Glass Cage

Automation weakens the bond between tool and user not because computer-controlled systems are complex but because they ask so little of us.

Information from the publisher

In The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us, his widely praised follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Shallows, bestselling author Nicholas Carr explores how our ever growing dependency on computers, apps, and robotics is reshaping our jobs, talents, and lives.

Digging behind the headlines about artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, digitized medicine and workplace robots, Carr explores the hidden costs of granting software dominion over our work and our leisure. Drawing on studies that underscore how tightly our sense of happiness and personal fulfillment is tied to performing skilled work in the real world, he reveals something we already suspect: shifting our attention to computer screens can leave us disengaged and discontented. Our lives may be easier inside the glass cage, but something essential is missing.

From doctors’ offices to the cockpits of passenger jets, from the frozen hunting grounds of Inuit tribes to the sterile landscapes of GPS maps, The Glass Cage explores the impact of automation from a deeply human perspective. Mixing history and philosophy, poetry and science, the book culminates in a moving meditation on how we can use technology to expand the human experience rather than narrow it.


“Elegantly persuasive.” - John Preston, The Telegraph

“Fresh and powerful.” - Mark Bauerlein, The Weekly Standard

“A thought-provoking and accessible look at the costs – economic, cognitive, and moral – of our society’s increasing reliance on automation.” - Kevin Roose, New York

Article in The Atlantic

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