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High Tech/High Touch: Technology and Our Search for Meaning


With American culture now being increasingly broadcast through technology–from TV and movies to music to the Internet and electronic games–we are living in what John Naisbitt calls the Technologically Intoxicated Zone. This zone is a confusing and distracted state where we both fear and worship technology, where we see technologies as toys and quick fixes and where we become obsessed with what is “real” and what is “fake”–from the violent games children play to genetically-engineered animals to whether one can claim to have scaled Everest if supplemental oxygen was used.

It is technology’s saturation of American society–with its fabulous innovations and its devastating consequences–that John Naisbitt and his coauthors Nana Naisbitt and Douglas Philips explore in this important and timely book. By consciously examining our relationship with technology as consumers of products, media, and emerging genetic technologies, we can learn to become aware of the impact technology will have on our daily lives, our children, our religiosity, our arts, and our humanness. High Tech/High Touch is a cautionary tale that shows us how to maximize technology’s benefits while minimizing its detrimental effects on our culture.

In a compelling tour of our technological immersion, as we work and play and search for a spiritual path, Naisbitt tackles complex questions: Does technology free us from the constraints of the physical world, or does it tie us down to our machines? Does it save us time in our day-to-day lives, or does it merely create a void we feel compelled to fill with even more tasks and responsibilities? What about advances in biotechnology? Recent developments in genetic engineering now raise the possibility of a future that will someday be free of the birth defects, disabilities, and diseases that mark our lives today. But in an age where such things are possible, what is natural, and what is artificial? And when people can be created in the laboratory as easily as in the womb, what, then, does it truly mean to be human?

Moving from the information and machine technologies of computers, the Internet, and telecommunications to the genetic technologies that are transforming biological science and artHigh Tech/High Touch reveals the emerging power we have over our destinies–and the need for a moral compass to guide us. An ideal book to usher in a century in which these issues will become even more timely, the book deftly explores the world we are creating and the world that is to come.

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