Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology (Hardcover)
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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.
About the Author
Kentaro Toyama is W. K. Kellogg Associate Professor at the University of Michigan's School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. Previously, he was cofounder and assistant managing director of Microsoft Research India. Toyama graduated from Yale with a PhD in Computer Science and from Harvard with a bachelor's in Physics. He was born in Tokyo and raised in both Japan and the United States. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI.
Toyama lays down eloquently his bone of contention that technology merely amplifies the human condition.” New Indian Express
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
Read this book! With engaging stories and penetrating insight, Toyama reveals that even the most powerful technologies can't cure our social ills, and he inspires us toward a more deeply human kind of progress.”Ben Mezrich, author of Accidental Billionaires
Controversial yet inspiring Geek Heresy is a must read for anyone who is passionate about social change Everyone from field staff and managers to researchers and funders will benefit from his unique perspective; geeks and non-geeks, alike. Finally, we have a book that can help temper our technology addiction with an approach guided by critical thought and practical application.”Global South Development Magazine
Winner of the 2016 PROSE Award in Business, Finance & Management
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
Everyone working in any facet of education and educational nonprofits needs to read Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology; put down whatever other books you're readingyou are reading, right?and get a copy of this one.” Seliger & Associates