Homer Glen, IL, United States | Member Since 2010
This is a fascinating look at who we are as human beings from the perspective of a person picked to take part in a challenge to pick the computer out from a group of people. How far have computers come? Can they be mistaken for human beings? They can mimic human beings but what is it, really, that makes us different from them? This is the story of a man in a struggle to make that determination and be forced to test it. Think about it... you go to a web site and you are invited to "chat" with someone about the products offered on that site: are you chatting with a real human being? How can you tell? How you can tell, is what this book is about...
What is it about a Bourdain episode that makes you watch it? He's the guy next door, who had done okay and now has the room to explore a bit -- like many Americans. We spend our day not foraging for food merely for sustainability or spend our day looking for clean water to drink... much of the world still does. We have the luxury of exploring new things that excite us and are even excited by the simple things reminding us of our childhood and redefined by our adulthood. Why are we fascinated with Bourdain? It's because he is, in the best spirit of American culture, an unpretentious human being that does not have to worry about the essentials of life but has the privilege of therefore exploring essentials. I share his love of food and drink, not for sustainability and stability, but as a way of knowing myself and what I value better. My waist will attest to that - does the man have be so thin! He intimately does literally what he does metaphorically: he takes that which is foreign, savors it, and makes it a part of himself. This book is that exactly: just a sit-down with a seldom seen but familiar friend.
Okay, this book is not for everyone. I am in IT, what can I say? I gave it 3 stars not because I did not enjoy it, but because this is a book written from the perspective of a geek to people who can relate to geeks -- nothing wrong with that! It is the story of a particular quest for perfection by searching for simplicity. This is not unique to technology since, for example, particle physicists spend their lives striving to deliver to their peers a description of reality via an "elegant formula," writers through thoroughly, yet succinctly, explain an intangible idea, and artists by engaging the viewer/listener's sense of awe to communicate a state of mind. Wozniak did this through his pursuit of turning the complexity of a technical problem into a succinct and elegant piece of technology -- gee, sounds a bit like Apple doesn't it? Jobs was the left brain of Apple as Wozniak was the right-brain: it was this that gave Apple is birth. This book is an insight not only into the mind of a great engineer but into the core 1/2 of what made Apple tick and continues to color its approach to its products. Apple did not invent most of the technology that made it a top company, it strove to break technology's complexity and ugliness by delivering elegant products in the vision people like the two Steves that were its founders.
This is a non-threatening review of all the quirks and ironic constructs of human beings diluted with comedy. The book is a narrator (Jon Stewart himself), speaking from a recording, greeting aliens who arrive to find a long lost civilization -- our civilization. The narrator and various members of the Daily Show go into hilarious apologies of various human staples and institutions, which are explained to the aliens like quirky family stories to strangers, making one realize how silly they are from a 3rd person perspective. Great book to explore on a rainy day!
The book is a bit dry, but knowledge is not always entertaining. It's a bit complex, so unlike the human being... It is definitely a worthwhile read and is credible science, unlike most of the over-simplified dribble that is presented as science today. One must approach this book with an open mind, a love for psychology, and strive to better understand the complex human condition -- one's own condition. If you harp on the details of who the authors picked as examples, you've missed the point. If you are looking for a political slant, bashing of belief in UFOs (of the intergalactic kind), or even probably religion, (since you are looking) you will find it. We are all creatures of our time, we have dispositions, views, and preferences. This book, if you read it not looking for your own agenda, is an excelling insight into how we make decisions and live with (and explain away) their convergences. I myself am guilty... oh and BTW: this download is only part I, can't seem to find part II...
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