Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It’s True? – Charles Seife (2014, Viking, New York)
Are you having a hard time easily separating fact from fiction when it comes to the Internet or any form of mass media these days? Do you feel you’re drowning in a tidal wave of meaningless noise and fake photographs, running up against countless obstacles detracting (and distracting us) from reality? Do you often wonder how we are supposed to make rational decisions when we have no real facts to go on? And how do we sift through the mire of stories and sources, and determine what is reality when everyone has their own version of it?
While Charles Seife doesn’t really have any answers for that, he certainly has plenty of fodder to illustrate the ways we’re being completely duped by corporations, governments, the media, and each other – and how the Internet is the ideal means to achieve that end, far more quickly, cleanly, and efficiently than ever before in history. This book could be depressing – after all, we’re being lied to, cheated on, and stolen from every single day – but it’s actually the most fascinating and relevant thing I’ve read in years. The old cliché “food for thought” definitely applies here.