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Book Reviews
The Almighty Machine
By: Pekka Vahvanen - Zer0 Books, $20.95

Description: The hymn of Digitalization is nothing new: We must encourage the creation of new apps. We must develop AI in order to prevail among international competition.

Technology’s advance will halt climate change and let robots do the dumb stuff for us. Our faith in technology is powerful because it has saved us in the past.

Verdict: As noted above, technological advancement’s are always necessary to keep up in the world with all the other powers and such, but here within The Almighty Machine, author Pekka Vahvanen shows us technology’s flip side.

The things that once powered us toward a brighter tomorrow are already undermining our quality of life. The data stream has shattered our concentration, human relationships have been reduced to a menu of emojis, constant surveillance has nullified much of our privacy, and the development of AI could be the beginning of the end for us. Vahvanen’s bristling and timely critique, deftly translated by Mark Jones, throws doubt on the necessity of technological development in a world saturated in tech and, importantly, The Almighty Machine presents an important question: Does progress no longer make us happier?

Technology gets defined as that which is changing fast and if the other things are not defined as technology, we filter them out and we do not even look at them.

That is not wholly dismissing the importance of iPhones and laptops and social networks within our ever-blossoming, ever-expanding technologically-advanced world, far from it, but maybe the progress in our phones (for example) has distracted us from the stagnation in our communities.

Within this book, and the eight chapters therein - Introduction, Progress Traps, Brain Drain, Every Home’s Double Agent, The Death of Purpose, The Satanic Mill, Our Last Invention and The Almighty Machine: Our Logical End - a series of dedicated, expertly thought out, concise and at their crux, deeply worrying theories are both pondered and expanded on here by Vahvanen in The Almighty Machine: How Digitalization Is Destroying Everything That Is Dear to Us.

About the Author - Pekka Vahvanen (born 1983) is a Finnish writer. He has also hosted Perjantai, a prime time television programme, as well as various radio programmes in Finland. He holds a Master of Arts in International History.

Vahvanen, who considers himself a conservative, doesn’t have a smart phone -- nor does he have any intent of getting one. He lives in Hämeenlinna, Finland.

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