The story of the rise of modern navigation technology, from radio location to GPS—and the consequent decline of privacy.
What does it mean to never get lost? You Are Here examines the rise of our technologically aided era of navigational omniscience—or how we came to know exactly where we are at all times. In a sweeping history of the development of location technology in the past century, Bray shows how radio signals created to carry telegraph messages were transformed into invisible beacons to guide ships and how a set of rapidly-spinning wheels steered submarines beneath the polar icecap. But while most of these technologies were developed for and by the military, they are now ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Our phones are now smart enough to pinpoint our presence to within a few feet—and nosy enough to share that information with governments and corporations. Filled with tales of scientists and astronauts, inventors and entrepreneurs, You Are Here tells the story of how humankind ingeniously solved one of its oldest and toughest problems—only to herald a new era in which it’s impossible to hide.
©2014 Hiawatha Bray (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Where shall I start? Pun intended. While this is a review of the development of location finding devices, it is also an examination of what that means to us. I haven't decided how I feel about it, but having read this book I have the tools to consider. The stories the author tells are interesting and bring out the problem and how important the solution was. I required reading book for the modern technocrat.
3.5 stars. Solid and concise history of navigation, ranging from guidance by star sighting to man-made satellites. Bray does a good job on a whirlwind tour through how humans have found themselves (physically) throughout time, highlighting the tenuousness of location in history, how challenging navigation used to be, and how the ubiquitous nature of today's technology makes getting lost seem the exception rather than the norm (a complete 180 from what was the human condition for most of our history when exploring unknown surroundings). The technical information is sometimes a bit dry, but never irrelevant. Bray finishes up by touching upon the privacy concerns that invasive and omnipresent technology gives rise to. Nice little book with a timely perspective.
Nice survey of how the internet of things has homed in on where we are and where we are likely to go next...whether physically or in our web surfing travels.
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