The Digital Rabbit Hole

The Digital Rabbit Hole ISBN: 9780982836345, Futurebooks,info publisher, e-book by Larry Kilham,

The book is subtitled: “How we are becoming captive in the digital universe and how to stimulate creativity, education, and recapture our humanity.” The book contains an Introduction followed by a presentation in three parts with magnificent references contained in a section at the end of the book pertinent to statistics and statements offered in the body of the work. PART 1 – The New World of the ‘Knowosphere’ contains 6 chapters detailing entrée into, good and bad features, effect on children and young adults, addictive features, definition of, its best uses and ‘shadows of artificial intelligence’. Part 2 –What to Learn and How to Think in the Age of Google has 3 chapters detailing decisions to be made and considerations that must be taken into account, evolution of new thought processes where the mind merges with the internet providing collective intelligence, and advancement, education and creativity considerations. PART 3 – Escape From the Rabbit Hole contains 4 chapters examining the “Erosion of Human Values”, “Recapturing Our Minds”, “Preparing the New Generations” and finally “The Road Ahead”.

Discussion: This is perhaps one of the most scholarly, and yet most simply written discussions on the subject of today’s almost universal servitude to the digital universe that this reviewer has read. Pertinent material from recognizably knowledgeably sources not only is presented in abundance but provided in a most enjoyably readable form. The author states: “Mankind’s thinking process is changing because reality will come through computers and digital devices.” He offers a relevant quote from prominent neuroscientist Susan Greenfield: “You’re just a consumer, living at the moment, having an experience, pressing buttons but not having a life narrative anymore. You’re not defined by your family, or by what you know, or by specific events in the real world, because most of your time is spent in cyberspace. So what are you? Could it be that we just become nodes on a much larger collective thought machine?” He states further that the main entry is through the smartphone with, as of 2015, 64% of North American adult ownership and with Facebook installed in 76%. There is a noticeable “erosion of human values at a price we have become willing to pay for the costless convenience of Google, comforts of Facebook, and the reliable company of iPhones”. The decline in youth studying humanities is quite noticeable. Mark Bauerlein, English professor and social analyst asks how can historical tales of leaders/battles/other, and architecture compete with the Digital democracy that even seems to be a contributor to declining interest in classical music. Sirus XM and satellite radio has 9 jazz channels, 20 Latin, 2 traditionally classical and the core classical music public in NYC is no more than 20,000 – ¼ % of city’s 8.4 million people. These are all part of the Internet driven democratization of cultural opinion. The average user checks his/her phone 100 times/day. Children use them constantly, often for advice/guidance but many unfortunately have become self-absorbed to the exclusion of everything else. It already has been proven to lessen attention span which already is at an all-time low of slightly over 8 seconds. It provides instant gratification – a message from a boy/girlfriend, photos from a party, shopping, a game, even a ‘selfie’. Obviously the traditional interests cannot compete with such prominently ‘important’ features. All of the former activities require a desire to learn which in turn requires effort. The latter do not, and they are selected simply because human nature traditionally takes the route requiring the least effort, and especially when gratification is so easily attained by doing so. Further, this concentration on one’s digital life decreases human intercourse and companionship and is leading to an increasing U. S. population of insecure, isolated and lonely individuals and, according to frightening statistics, have been shown to provide abysmal levels in literacy, mathematics and problem solving when compared to the accomplishments of those in other countries. Studies have shown that “as the smartphone ownership increases, literacy decreases.” The author admits that “the Digital age envelops us and forces us to engage whether we like it or not” and that almost every job now requires some level of digital literacy. However, we must approach it intelligently to use it as a base for new enterprises and further education. It should not be wasted simply for social media access, entertainment, purchases, and daily routines. He concludes by providing suggestions for accomplishing this goal. This is a most timely discussion set forth in a scholarly but simply and easily read format. (96 references listed)

5* Highly recommended examination of today’s digital world.

Time Value of MONEY Decoded

Time Value of MONEY Decoded, Snowballing Your Way to Financial Freedom an e-book by Jeremy Kho.

The author is a millennial in his early thirties with “5 years of experience in the consultancy firm in Singapore” as well as other experience that “helped him to think more logically and systematically in investing.” Realizing that many young persons often do not think about money matters until it is almost, if not actually, too late, he decided to provide this short instructional with some of the basics. In Section One the essentials about Time Value Money (TVM) and its Management are presented. Section Two sets forth a strategy to employ that focuses on the very concept and gives advice with respect to the time value of money math behind it. Spread sheets “even are provided” where you can apply “exactly what you need to know”. The author offers examples and simple explanations of simple bank interest, compound interest, effect of inflation, mortgage rates, stocks, stock funds and other relevancies with respect to time and money. Also sets forth the Rule of 72 and how to use it to discern the number of months (or other period) that would be required, for example, to calculate future value and the reverse. More material follows about ordinary vs. fixed annuities, variable and indexed. To paraphrase, he has attempted to establish a foundation for all time value of money and has furnished cash flow diagram description and explanation of ways to estimate how much money invested now will produce in the future, and/or what one would be required to do now to reach X figure at a given time. Then, a section entitled “Achieving Financial Freedom in the Years Ahead” opens with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Think what you do when you run into debt: you give to another power over your liberty.” This is followed by the admonishment to “Stop paying interest to the bank, stop getting into further debt! Focus on paying off your debt instead.” A specific step by step agenda is provided to attain this goal with the next being to start saving and “Snowballing Your Way to Wealth” with again a specific plan. A most helpful last few pages of the book offer specific references that detail routes to learn almost anything: “From coding to app development, writing to book publication.”

Discussion/Conclusion: A simple helpful primer for the neophyte.

4* simple helpful primer for the uninitiated.