Work Mate Marry Love: How Machines Shape Our Human Destiny

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We normally do not think of technology changing our social behavior, but both influence each other. The underlying premise of this book is that technological advances influence our most basic human interactions – our definition of a family. The underlying assumption throughout this book is that invention dictates not only society but also family life. The book is divided into three parts: the first part surveys history and attempts to show how the invention of the plow, the Industrial Revolution, and the proliferation of home appliances influenced our ideas of dating, falling in love, and family. The second part probes contemporary society, specifically in vitro fertilization, contraception, the advent of the internet and online dating, and the use of artificial intelligence in decision-making. The third part envisions the future: more personal human-robot interactions, and extending life by extending consciousness.

While the discussion is intriguing, some aspects need broader consideration, and some of the underlying assumptions need closer examination. For instance, one assertion is that the invention of the plow shaped gender bias, and lead to patriarchal societies. It fails to consider gender roles in societies such as Mesoamerica, and Ancient Persia. The narrative holds that invention influences society, rather than open the possibility that societal norms may also influence innovation. Readers may find other assumptions that need better support. Despite its drawbacks, the book does draw a relationship between areas that are typically regarded as related. For that reason alone, it is well worth reading, questioning, and contemplating.


Reviewed By:

Author Debora L. Spar
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publish Date 2020-Aug-18
ISBN 9780374200039
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2020
Category History
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