The Downside Of Computer Automation With Author Nicholas Carr

Sep 18, 2015

This interview was originally broadcast in February of 2015

The epic battle between man and machine has long been part of our culture, folklore and philosophy. But bestselling author Nicholas Carr makes the case that increasing automation is raising the stakes in this battle– and he is not at all sure we will remain masters of our creations.

In his book, "The Glass Cage: Automation and Us," Carr explores how a growing reliance on computers and computer software is rapidly changing the way Americans live, play, work and learn.

For example, many of us launch apps for everything from navigating unfamiliar roads to listening to music. The problem is, we don’t know when to say “enough.”

When computers take over difficult or time-consuming work, we’re less likely to make the effort to test skills that in the past have given us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, Carr writes. All too often, “automation frees us from that which makes us feel free.”

Carr writes about technology and culture and is the author of several other books, including The New York Times bestseller, "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," which was finalist for the Pultizer Prize in 2011.

He has been a columnist for the Guardian in London and has written for The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired, Nature, MIT Technology Review, and other periodicals.

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