Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top ten books about the internet

John Naughton is Vice-President of Wolfson College, Cambridge and Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University. He is also an Observer columnist and a prominent blogger at His new book is From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: What You Really Need to Know About the Internet.

One of Naughton's top ten books about the internet, as told to the Guardian: by Cass Sunstein

Technological optimists see the internet as a prime enabler of a free market in ideas, a space in which anyone can have access to the best thinking and the best arguments. But sceptics like Cass Sunstein see the burgeoning technologies of "personalisation" – the software that enables Amazon to make recommendations specially tailored for you, or the filtering systems that enable you to construct the "Daily Me" from a set of RSS feeds from sites of which you approve – as a countervailing force heading in a different direction. They foresee an online world in which you see only what you want to see and hear only what you want to hear – in other words the fragmentation of the internet into a multitude of ideological echo-chambers, a development which would be dangerous for democracy. And if you think that's a far-fetched fear, just look at the Tea Party in the US.
Read about the other books on Naughton's list.

Also see Lev Grossman's list of five books about the World Wide Web.

--Marshal Zeringue