Where Will Man Take Us?: The bold story of the man technology is creating by Atul Jalan takes you through a melange of different technologies that are a part of our lives.
As long as you are a mere user of technology, you enjoy it. If you go a level deeper, you start playing with it. If you play enough, you may start applying it in the ways never thought before. The right application of technology can bring in revolutions. Look at all the apps installed on your phone and you know what I am talking about. However, if you go even deeper, you get awed by the mysteries that lie hidden inside the science behind technologies.
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I guess author Atul Jalan, scratched a bit below the surface and got a glimpse of some of the mysteries. He was overwhelmed and he read a few authors who write on science. Must have been impressed by some of the quotes in their works. He has put all his astonishment, his joy and some of his thoughts together in the form of this book.
The tongue twister name of the book makes you wonder if he is trying to tell you the impact of technology on Man or Man’s impact on evolving technology. I guess he was watching both sides of the pendulum.
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Where this book works, is that takes you to some of the edges of science that not many people go to. Unless held by hand and taken there. It tells you about the larger universe that we are a small part of and the universes that potentially exist within us.
Reading this book will also give you a great list of books you can read on the subject of technology.
Readable quotes in the book
Here and there, there are some interesting quotes like:
- We always overestimate the benefits of technology in the short term and underestimate its power of transformative change in the long term.
- The wise man looks into space and does not regard the large as too large nor the small as too small, for he knows there are no limits to dimensions. – from Nanocosm by William Illsey Atkinson.
- The universe is written in the language of mathematics and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures. – attributed to Galileo
- An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God – Srinivasan Ramanujan
- A mathematical truth can only be discovered as it exists a priori and not as a consequence of human experience.
I learned about the concepts like ‘Escape your Bubble’ that allow you to see the world beyond your own echo chambers. Having said that the concepts have not really taken off, which tells a lot about human behavior on social media. It was great visiting the Laws of Robotics that Isaac Asimov wrote way back in 1942. Do not be surprised if the three laws may actually become the basis of Robotics Laws someday.
Where it fails is half baked, half thought through concepts like ‘Civilization needed monotheism’ – Really? A small glimpse of historical subjects will tell you that monotheism is a very recent concept. I also could not figure out what was the author trying to tell us. It felt like he was telling us all that he found interesting in his readings. He does not mention any technology that he has worked on or uses, discounting the most common one that is part of everyone’s life.
The book ends abruptly. Leaving you with about 20% of the book as End Notes and Bibliography.
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I wish author Atul Jalan had spent some more time mulling over his subject. And added his own thoughts and vision in the book. The idea is great and so is his width of reading. A bit more depth with a target audience in mind would have made it a wonderful book.
You can read it if you have never read about science and technology.