Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: The Digital Rabbit Hole by Larry Kilham

So I read The Digital Rabbit Hole by Mr. Larry Kilham regarding our future as it applies to technology, and I don't write many reviews (check my blog if you disbelieve me), but I wanted to write one for this book.

Because it deserves a review. And I kinda actually dug on the book.

See, Rabbit Hole is atypically interesting. He frames the yawnish topic of modern techno-consumerism into a Wonderland of truthful lies and fictional fact, a place where everyone is mad and rabbits dash down holes chasing useless misinformation, skittering in haste over tufts of trampled truth in search of whatever Google's sponsors insist we chase and consume.

All hail Google!

Anyway, Mr. Kilham stirs the balderdash hash of the modern world into his hookah, puffs a wise cloud and describes how we can spur intellectual growth in this mockery of ad-driven insanity, rather than simply melt down our life candle with blinking lights and calloused thumbs.

Because technology is a Wonderland of Wonders -- but only if we ~think~ about it.

He's sort of an authority on the topic of technology. I won't go into details, because you can figure it out if you read his profile, but I will say it is refreshing to discover an authoritative opinion on what the future might hold, embedded in a well-written, novelesque and easy-to-chow book.

"You should always think critically and search for the truth."

That's a quote from his book. It is a sky-is-blue obvious statement, but this is an ongoing theme throughout his work. That's why I bring up that he is genuinely an authority on the topic. His expertise shines in the details as he addresses such concerns as immediate gratification and our endless appetite for the next useless gadget. We sell our souls for shiny beads, but the silver lining is that there is a silver lining.

See, the techno-flood plains are littered with golden nuggets, if you are patient enough to pan out the mud and pebbles, and the intellectual plate is piled high with whole-grain goodness, if you are wise enough to winnow out the chaff.

He mentions a lot of interesting topics, such as fear of loss, why we socialize online, how virtual lifestyles affect us and our children, and he dubs the Internet of Things The Knowosphere and so on. I won't steal his thunder, but he will leave you with a wizened vocabulary of interesting catch phrases, and a slick sideways manner of debating the present-future world in which we exist through avatars and an impatient cursor.

I enjoyed the book and its take on technology, but I did find one question begging as I read. So I asked his publisher if she would mind asking him if I could beg him a question, and she asked, and he said he would answer, and so here it goes.

My begging question for Mr. Kilham

You nailed the useful-less-ness of the Knowosphere, as you describe it, pointing out the dichotomy of fact and fiction and suggesting how the thinking class might expand (or is it expound?) their knowledge, while still allowing the consumer class to enjoy what has become our most precious distraction this side of television and booze.

But I was hoping you would explore a point you touched on in this quote:

As Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee point out in Race Against the Machine, “How can so much value creation and so much economic misfortune coexist? How can technologies accelerate while incomes stagnate? These apparent paradoxes can be resolved by combining some well-understood economic principles with the observation that there is a growing mismatch between rapidly advancing digital technologies and slow-changing humans.”

While we will continue to witness a flurry of interesting technological advances, I wonder at what point the economy of technology will balance out the replacement of humans by machines, and I wonder if it already began, perhaps with the bust in the early 2000s and China's usurpation of American labor.

So I ask: What is the tipping point of too many economic dead-ends before the remaining workers can no longer sustain the consumerism that companies require to spawn new tech?

Mr. Kilham's Outstanding Response

I don’t know when your tipping point will happen although it probably happens in phases, creeping up almost unnoticed.

Partially reacting to the economic dead-ends you refer to, the Millennials are increasingly convinced that cheaper, simpler, eco-friendly living is the way to go. Tiny houses are no longer a novelty. Automobile ownership is no longer taken for granted. Now it’s okay to wear second-hand clothes and to buy rebuilt appliances.

The capital required to invest in new tech is not scarce, at least not by large, inventive companies. Apple and Google have more cash than they know what to do with. What they seem to lack are significant new product ideas. For small companies, access to venture capital probably has never been easier.

A new economic system catching attention is the move away from consumerism and towards economic subsistence for the less fortunate. This is called Universal Basic Income. It is being promoted by such apparently conservative visionaries as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. The economic support for such a program would, of course, come from taxes. Economists calculate that taxes can provide enough funding. It is being tried now experimentally in Finland and in Ontario, Canada.

I discuss these concepts in detail in my book, Winter of the Genomes. It is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

Will digital media sweep us into a new era of prosperity? What new advances in entertainment, culture, education, and knowledge can we expect? Will we get stuck in Cyberland only to be saved by digital detox?

The Digital Rabbit Hole reveals that we are becoming captive in the digital universe. The portals are smartphones and the world is the Internet. We immerse ourselves in social media; we learn through packaged feel-good information; and we will leave the hard work to robots and AI. The book details digital media and discusses smartphone addiction problems. It proposes solutions to stimulate creativity and education and to recapture our humanity.

Paperback: 144 Pages
Genre: Social Science/Non Fiction
Publisher:; 1 edition (January 1, 2016)

The Digital Rabbit Hole is available in print on Amazon

About the Author:

Larry Kilham has traveled extensively overseas for over twenty years. He worked in several large international companies and started and sold two high-tech ventures. He received a B.S. in engineering from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in management from MIT. Larry has written books about creativity and invention, artificial intelligence and digital media, travel overseas, and three novels with an AI theme. Currently, he is writing a novel about free will.

Larry can be found online at:


 - Eric

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Wink and Steps from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.


Haunted by visions of a demonic angel and sold into servitude by his father, young Alberto battles to survive the horrors of a nineteenth century Sicilian sulfur mine. Suffering merciless brutality, Alberto must save not only himself but his deformed older brother, both pawns in their father's mad plan to overthrow a group of wealthy landowners.Bound by a death-debt to his hunchback master, Alberto discovers a door the miners call Porta dell'Inferno, the Door to Hell, deep within the sulfur mines. When he learns the demon-angel of his dreams stalks the caverns beyond the door, Alberto realizes a strange fate has lured him and his brother to the gates leading to the underworld.Now Alberto must face the creature from his visions and rise to become the man his father demands him to be, or remain forever trapped in a hellish world where none escape.