The Brain is Wider Than the Sky by Bryan Appleyard

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It's fitting, however, that a book that dissects the modern obsession with connectivity and information leaves your circuits a bit overloaded.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Simplicity has become a brand and a cult. People want simple lives and simple solutions. And now our technology wants us to be simpler, to be 'machine readable'. From telephone call trees that simplify us into a series of 'options' to social networks that reduce us to our purchases and preferences, we are deluged with propaganda urging us to abandon our irreducibly complex selves. Dazed by the marketing, we hand over our lives to databases, iPads and smartphones. At the same time, scientists tell us we are 'simply' the products of evolution, nothing more than our genes. Brain scanners have inspired neuroscientists to claim they are close to cracking the problem of the human mind. 'Human equivalent' computers are being designed that, we are told, will do our thinking for us. Humans are being simplified out of existence. It is time, says Bryan Appleyard, to resist, and to reclaim the full depth of human experience. We are, he argues, naturally complex creatures, we are only ever at home in complexity. Through art and literature we see ourselves in ways that machines never can. He makes an impassioned plea for the voices of art to be heard before those of the technocrats. Part memoir, part reportage, part cultural analysis, THE BRAIN IS WIDER THAN THE SKY is a dire warning about what we may become and a lyrical evocation of what humans can be. For the brain is indeed wider than the sky.
 

About Bryan Appleyard

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Born in 1951, Bryan Appleyard attended King's College, Cambridge. He writes for numerous publications including VANITY FAIR, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE SPECTATOR and THE SUNDAY TIMES.
 
Published November 1, 2011 by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson. 288 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences.
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Critic reviews for The Brain is Wider Than the Sky
All: 2 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Victoria Segal on Nov 13 2012

It's fitting, however, that a book that dissects the modern obsession with connectivity and information leaves your circuits a bit overloaded.

Read Full Review of The Brain is Wider Than the Sky | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Jessica Holland on Sep 29 2012

The picture is persuasive in its broad sweeps but confusing in its details: it's never properly explained...What we're left with is a guiding principle that's basic enough to trip up on its own logic: simple isn't always best.

Read Full Review of The Brain is Wider Than the Sky | See more reviews from Guardian

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