Pax Technica How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up Philip N. Howard

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
28 May 2015
ISBN:
9780300199475
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
352 pages: 210 x 140 x 29mm

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A foremost digital expert looks at the most powerful political tool ever created—the internet of things. Will it be like the internet of surveillance and censorship we have now, or will it be something better?

Should we fear or welcome the internet’s evolution? The “internet of things” is the rapidly growing network of everyday objects—eyeglasses, cars, thermostats—made smart with sensors and internet addresses. Soon we will live in a pervasive yet invisible network of everyday objects that communicate with one another. In this original and provocative book, Philip N. Howard envisions a new world order emerging from this great transformation in the technologies around us.
 
Howard calls this new era a Pax Technica. He looks to a future of global stability built upon device networks with immense potential for empowering citizens, making government transparent, and broadening information access. Howard cautions, however, that privacy threats are enormous, as is the potential for social control and political manipulation. Drawing on evidence from around the world, he illustrates how the internet of things can be used to repress and control people. Yet he also demonstrates that if we actively engage with the governments and businesses building the internet of things, we have a chance to build a new kind of internet—and a more open society.

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Philip N. Howard is a professor and author of seven books, including Democracy’s Fourth Wave? and The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.  He is a frequent commentator on the impact of technology on political life, contributing to Slate.com, TheAtlantic.com and other media outlets.

'Forget networking your toaster to your refrigerator-in Pax Technica, Howard brilliantly outlines the coming consequences of the Internet of Things, including altered norms of international governance. This is the most important work yet written on the subject, and the first to extend the logic of networked infrastructure to the global political stage.' – Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody 

'Connected devices raise a variety of social, economic, and political concerns. In this timely book, Howard analyzes how sensors, geolocation devices, and wearable technologies will broaden and threaten people's lives. It is a superb analysis of what he calls 'pax technica'.' – Darrell West, Brookings Institution 

'Pax Technica is a groundbreaking assessment of the next great stage of the digital revolution, the one that makes all previous stages look like child's play. The 'internet of things' is upon us, and Howard provides an eye-opening account of its immense promise and perils.' – Robert W. McChesney, author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

'We can't say we haven't been warned-or encouraged. Phil Howard makes a big argument about the fundamental shift in power that will occur once the Internet of Things takes hold and connected devices become central to our lives. He also provides a wise blueprint for making these changes work for the common good. Take heed.' –Lee Rainie, Director of Internet, Science, and Technology research at the Pew Research Center 

'Pax Technica is an essential guidebook for the often unsettling implications of Big Data and the Internet of Things. Howard crafts a persuasive plea for active civic engagement to help chart us towards a more equitable digital future.' –Ron Deibert, author of Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet 

'To understand the true significance of the Internet of Things, I only need to turn to Philip Howard's new masterpiece: Bold, comprehensive, full of intriguing insights and eminently readable!' – Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, co-author of Big Data

'Ambitious and provocative, Pax Technica addresses the implications of digital media, big data, and related phenomena for democracy and public life. Pundits, policymakers, and those curious about the changing landscape of media, politics, and global affairs should take note.' – Seth Lewis, University of Minnesota