The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google

A hundred years ago, we arrived at such as moment with technologies that extend man's physical powers. We are at another such moment today with technologies that extend our intellectual power

All technological change is generational change.

Along Maine’s Kennebec River alone, thirty-six companies operated fifty-three icehouses with a total capacity of a million tons. But over the next few decades, cheap electricity devastated the business, first by making the artificial production of ice more economical and then by spurring homeowners to replace their iceboxes with electric refrigerators. As Gavin Weightman writes in The Frozen-Water Trade, the “huge industry simply melted away.

As long as algorithms determine the distribution of profits, they will also determine what gets published. The

As these companies had expanded their operations in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, they’d found it necessary to collect, store, and analyze ever larger amounts of data—on their customers, their finances, their employees, their inventories, and so on. Electrification allowed the companies to grow larger still, further expanding the information they had to process. This intellectual work became as important, and often as arduous, as the physical labor of manufacturing products and delivering services. Hollerith’s

information is a commodity that can be processed by a machine.

In programming the World Wide Computer, we will be programming our lives.

Insull was a serious and driven young man. Born into a family of temperance crusaders, he spent his boyhood poring over books with titles like Lives of the Great Engineers and Self-Help.

Internet users can seek out interactions with like-minded individuals who have similar values

In the long run, the IT department is unlikely to survive, at least not in its familiar form.

In the YouTube economy, everyone is free to play, but only a few reap the rewards.

Like other factory owners of the time, he was as much in the business of manufacturing energy as manufacturing goods. But

our longstanding idea of a computer is obsolete.

Rather than allowing technology to control us, Mumford implied, we can control technology—if only we can muster the courage to exert the full power of our free will over the machines we make.

Technology is amoral, and inventions are routinely deployed in ways their creators neither intend nor sanction.

Technology shapes economics, and economics shapes society.

the path of technological progress and its human consequences are determined not simply by advances in science and engineering but also, and more decisively, by the influence of technology on the costs of producing and consuming goods and services. A competitive marketplace guarantees that more efficient modes of production and consumption will win out over less efficient ones.

The Web had turned out to be less the new home of Mind than the new home of Business. The

the Web transformed the Internet from an intellectual meeting-house into a commercial enterprise.

To hold inventors liable for the misuse of their inventions is to indict progress itself. That’s

United States, along with Canada and the United Kingdom, has become a “plutonomy” where “economic growth is powered by, and largely consumed by, the wealthy few.” Economists

We’re still a long way from knowing where our clicks will lead us. But it’s clear that two of the hopes most dear to the Internet optimists—that the Web will create a more bountiful culture and that it will promote greater harmony and understanding—should be treated with skepticism. Cultural impoverishment and social fragmentation seem equally likely outcomes.

We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us. —John M. Culkin

When a newspaper moves online, the bundle falls apart.

where we are free of our labors and joined back to nature… and all watched over by machines of loving grace. That