A reading club with a view to the future

144 Nicholas Carr: Utopia is creepy

Nicholas Carr explores the darker side of technology, revealing how our digital utopia can be just as unsettling as it is alluring.

Nicholas Carr: Utopia is creepy


In "Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations," Nicholas Carr presents a collection of his best essays on technology and culture, delving into topics ranging from artificial intelligence and automation to social media and virtual reality. He challenges our assumptions about the positive effects of technology on society and encourages us to consider the potential downsides of our increasingly digital world.


Title: Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations

Author: Nicholas Carr

Publishing year: 2016

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Length in hours: 12 hours and 37 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The dark side of automation and the impact on jobs and society
  2. The dangers of our growing reliance on artificial intelligence and algorithms
  3. The effects of technology on our brains and attention spans
  4. The psychological implications of social media and online communication
  5. The potential consequences of our addiction to technology and the need for digital detox
Nicholas Carr: Utopia is creepy

5 funny quotes

  1. "In Silicon Valley, 'disruption' is a sacred word, like 'virgin' in a medieval village."
  2. "Google, the company that launched a thousand street views."
  3. "I had always assumed that cyberspace was a guy thing, like Monster Garage or fish tanks."
  4. "People are fond of talking about the 'Internet of Things,' as if it's a single, homogeneous entity. In reality, it's more like an Internet of Whatevers."
  5. "The problem with the internet is that you can't simply cut a wire to shut it down."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "We're creating a culture of distraction."
  2. "The ideal tool for knowledge work turns out to be no tool at all."
  3. "The internet's original sin was its business model."
  4. "The technologies we use to extend our minds and capacities are also the ones that undermine them."
  5. "The allure of technology is that it distracts us from ourselves."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing the benefits and drawbacks of automation and artificial intelligence
  2. Addressing the negative impact of the attention economy and social media addiction
  3. Navigating the conflict between privacy and convenience in the era of big data
  4. Considering the long-term societal implications of technology's impact on jobs and income inequality
  5. Deciding how much control we want to give to algorithms and whether they are inherently biased or not.

5 examples

  1. Ray Kurzweil's prediction of the singularity and the merging of human and artificial intelligence
  2. The impact of automation on jobs, with a focus on the trucking industry and the rise of self-driving vehicles
  3. The dangers of algorithmic decision-making, illustrated by the case of the ProPublica study on racial bias in a software used for predicting recidivism
  4. The addictive nature of social media and the rise of "phantom vibration syndrome"
  5. The need for a digital detox, exemplified by the story of Susan Maushart and her family's experience with a six-month technology sabbatical

Referenced books

  1. "The Circle" by Dave Eggers
  2. "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other" by Sherry Turkle
  3. "The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You" by Eli Pariser
  4. "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" by Walter Isaacson
  5. "Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy" by Cathy O'Neil

Share a quote

"In Silicon Valley, 'disruption' is a sacred word, like 'virgin' in a medieval village."

Nicholas Carr: Utopia is creepy
Become a NextBook Insider

Join our community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, participate in giveaways, and more.