Rushkoff's product page (link below) says this:
The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: it’s here; it’s everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it? “Choose the former,” writes Rushkoff, “and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make.”
I commented on Disquiet's FB post:
I always feel ambivalent about these kinds of self-help books for the Age of Technicity. On the one hand, the train of obeisance and acquiescence to our future with mediating machines has left the station (about the time real trains left the station!), but on the other I always want to fight against "acceptance manifestos"--there is no real way to "manage the machine" and in the end the only folks that can remotely pretend to are already those working that angle of the tech game (already a specialization in the world of our current view of the magic of technology). I feel it's closer to an addiction and this would be like saying to the smoker, just be sure to grow your own tobacco so you can be the one addicting yourself in just the right amount.
Further to the point--Rushkoff is a self-promoting "counter-revolutionary" (no clue what that means in this context) and "expert" in all things digital, but who, to my mind, is like an embedded "journalist" in the current terror campaigns--he's promoted the very war he sends back dispatches from and profited by this medium and speaks from within its parameters.
His goal has always been to make you comfortable with the medium that is remaking you.
Don't fight it, Brother, Sister...learn the best way to please IT and IT will smile upon you.
This is a real concern and has been one for aeons regarding our knowledge of the world. Philosophy has debated this knowing the world via "theory" or "practice". Of course, it's not a very real dichotomy as the two must go hand-in-hand (like lovers are supposed to; there's a thin line between love and hate).
But I think the worst thing has been happening; practice is all most of us "know". We know there is a machine and we know what we can see and use of the machine--my "knowledge" of the laptop I'm using is literally a surface knowledge...plastic keys, power cord, etc., I know nothing of its guts; I know even less of it's software (though I can name some programs).
One might believe that knowing programming will help you "direct" technology to your benefit (and it might create economic opportunities for you, I can't disagree)--but knowing coding is also a surface knowledge.
What do I know of anything? is finally a very important first question. Nothing is my best answer at this point (thank you, Michel).
I know that given the above you have to assume that I am skeptical of most of this kind of reaching after technical skill without understanding the history of our machine-driven species (emphasis on "driven"). I know nothing of how anything works--cars, computers, airplanes, refrigerators, animal bodies, atoms, bombs, seeds. Yes, I can find out the "guts" of most of these things. Yes, that is my responsibility (and I take it this is likely Rushkoff's message at bottom--I didn't read the book, only the review and the promotional page), but what am I learning?
How to better "use" technology? Perhaps this is all we can do. If so, then I propose the President add "philosophy of technology" to his list of educational priorities--I don't think it was in the SOTU. We are, as Hedges has detailed in a talk linked to in a previous post here, erasing the subjects of our liberal arts education like languages, art and music at all levels and re-tooling what's left of them to be subservient to all-mighty STEM. Just as one learns languages best at the earliest age of immersion, so too one can learn philosophy. Our children begin as philosophers but are quickly turned into technologists. "Why" is discouraged; "How to" encouraged.
I often wonder if real wisdom lies not in knowing the consequences of your "practice" but rather in knowing that a tower stretching to the heavens is irrelevant and makes us simply slaves of the idea of the tower.
Review of Program or Be Programmed by Marc Weidenbaum of Disquiet.com
Rushkoff's Product website
Episteme and Techne--Stanford
Philosophy for Kids