Finally, the first print review of Program or Be Programmed. The independently published book has gotten plenty of coverage from the net and radio, but – until now – nothing in print. It’s as if traditional print media are reluctant to engage with a book that seems to come from the publishing model threatening traditional print media. More probably, it’s that with so many books to review, newspapers and magazines use the imprint of the publisher to do initial triage. If you’re not with a major house, chances are you aren’t worth the time and effort.
Here, the Miami Herald’s always insightful Richard Pachter examines the fruit and faults in the book. And because it’s an indie book, I can actually take his advice and make changes before the next printing!
This new one is short and concise, but a highly worthy successor. His mission is to raise awareness of the human implications of our technologies — the context (if you will) of our actions.
The author’s Decalogue here is a set of rules of conduct. To wit: Do Not Be ‘Always On;’ Live in Person; You May Always Choose ‘None of the Above;’ You Are Never Completely Right; One Size Does Not Fit All; Be Yourself; Do Not Sell Your Friends; Tell the Truth; Share, Don’t Steal; and Program or Be Programmed.” Each of the command(ments) comprise a chapter.
On the surface they seem pretty obvious, but like their Biblical counterparts, they add up to a wise and ethical way to conducts oneself, in this case, mostly with thein online and virtual worlds. After all, many of us blithely mouse over, click and agree to website terms we’re asked to give our assent to, with little thought to the implications or the consequences, and whatever rights and responsibilities we may shed as we do. Beyond that, there’s an insidious role reversal, says Rushkoff, whereby the supposed programmer becomes the programmed. Our tools define us, whether we like it or not. But it doesn’t have to be that way.