The Four Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott
Ways of Being in the Digital World

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Scott quotes Zadie Smith as noting that social media “can enforce uniformity,” shouting us down into a kind of digital sameness that, he adds, “inevitably entails a constricting of personality.” More Adorno than Negroponte but of interest to students of contemporary first-world culture.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

You are a four-dimensional human.

Each of us exists in three-dimensional, physical space. But, as a constellation of everyday digital phenomena rewires our lives, we are increasingly coaxed from the containment of our predigital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection.


Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows, and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public with these recoded private lives?


Laurence Scott—hailed as a “New Generation Thinker” by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC—shows how this four-dimensional life is dramatically changing us by redefining our social lives and extending the limits of our presence in the world. Blending tech-philosophy with insights on everything from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, Scott stands with a rising generation of social critics hoping to understand our new reality. His virtuosic debut is a revelatory and original exploration of life in the digital age.

 

About Laurence Scott

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Laurence Scott is a lecturer in English and Creative Writing. His essays and criticism appear regularly in the Guardian, the Financial Times and the London Review of Books, among other publications. In 2011 he was named a 'New Generation Thinker' by the Arts and Humanities Council and the BBC. He lives in London.
 
Published August 9, 2016 by W. W. Norton & Company. 274 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Four Dimensional Human
All: 4 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on Jun 01 2016

Scott quotes Zadie Smith as noting that social media “can enforce uniformity,” shouting us down into a kind of digital sameness that, he adds, “inevitably entails a constricting of personality.” More Adorno than Negroponte but of interest to students of contemporary first-world culture.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by John Naughton on Jul 27 2015

These minutiae of social and private life are the grist for Scott’s mill, which sometimes grinds exceedingly fine...Underpinning Scott’s cabinet of reflections is, one suspects, a bigger idea. On this evidence, it might be worth waiting for.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Jemima Kiss on Jun 15 2015

Of many recent titles exploring how technology is affecting all of our lives, Scott’s book is a gentle meditation that drifts through observations about our behaviour, our state of mind and our sense of self, without manufactured conclusion or a clumsy inevitability.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Will Self on Jun 11 2015

Towards the end of this book Scott seems to lose his focus; shifting from forensic descriptions of web-heads’ perceptual and cognitive glitches into lengthier philosophising of the Whither goest thou? form.

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