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Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Mirrors

‘Stop following the news until you’ve read Gemma Milne’s persuasive analysis of the hype and bullshit that distort our understanding of emerging science. As she shows, the starting point to grasping the genuine opportunities of AI, life sciences and climate tech is a healthy dose of critical thinking’
David Rowan, founding editor of WIRED UK and author of Non-Bullshit Innovation: Radical Ideas from the World’s Smartest Minds

‘Couldn’t be more timely. Fascinating and vitally important’
Jamie Bartlett, author of The People Vs Tech

‘A much-needed blast of fresh air! Gemma Milne expertly shows us how to separate the truth from the hype surrounding the emerging techs of today, and those of the near-tomorrow’
Lewis Dartnell, author of Origins: How the Earth Made Us

‘I loved this book! This is exactly the sort of sceptical, cut-through-the crap-but-still-excited-about-what’s-emerging book around tech innovation that’s sorely needed, yet is so hard to find . . . essential reading for anyone who’s serious about how real-world advances might be effectively harnessed to build a better future’
Dr Andrew Maynard, scientist and author of Films from the Future and Future Rising

‘[A] vital contribution in a world where technological progress promises so much, but too often disappoints. If, like me, you believe that advances in science and technology are our best hope for solving the grand challenges of our times, this book is the indispensable guide to avoiding the mirages and the charlatans along the way’
Matt Clifford, co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneur First

‘A refreshingly grown-up, clear-headed look at the interaction between science, technology and the media – readable without being dumbed down, acknowledging complexities without being heavy’
Tom Chivers, author of The AI Does Not Hate You

‘ROBOTS WILL STEAL YOUR JOB!’

‘AI WILL REVOLUTIONISE FARMING!’

‘GENETIC EDITING WILL CURE CANCER!’

Bombastic headlines about science and technology are nothing new. To cut through the constant stream of information and misinformation on social media, or grab the attention of investors, or convince governments to take notice, strident headlines or bold claims seem necessary to give complex, nuanced information some wow factor.

But hype has a dark side, too.

It can mislead. It can distract. It can blinker us from seeing what is actually going on.

From AI, quantum computing and brain implants, to cancer drugs, future foods and fusion energy, science and technology journalist Gemma Milne reveals hype to be responsible for fundamentally misdirecting or even derailing crucial progress.

Hype can be combated and discounted, though, if you’re able to see exactly where, how and why it is being deployed.

This book is your guide to doing just that.
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Genre: Mathematics & Science

On Sale: 23rd April 2020

Price: £14.99

ISBN-13: 9781472143662

Reviews

A much-needed blast of fresh air! Gemma Milne expertly shows us how to separate the truth from the hype surrounding the emerging techs of today, and those of the near-tomorrow.
Lewis Dartnell, author of Origins: How the Earth Made Us
I loved this book! This is exactly the sort of sceptical, cut-through-the crap-but-still-excited-about-what's-emerging book around tech innovation that's sorely needed, yet is so hard to find. Gemma Milne's writing sparkles and delights as she strips away the hype around nine cutting-edge areas of science and technology while revealing possibilities that are all the more compelling as a result. More than an antidote to over-hyped tech, Smoke & Mirrors is essential reading for anyone who's serious about how real-world advances might be effectively harnessed to build a better future.
Dr Andrew Maynard, scientist and author of Films from the Future and Future Rising
Smoke & Mirrors is a vital contribution in a world where technological progress promises so much, but too often disappoints. If, like me, you believe that advances in science and technology are our best hope for solving the grand challenges of our times, this book is the indispensable guide to avoiding the mirages and the charlatans along the way.
Matt Clifford, co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneur First
A refreshingly grown-up, clear-headed look at the interaction between science, technology and the media - readable without being dumbed down, acknowledging complexities without being heavy.
Tom Chivers, author of The AI Does Not Hate You
In this book, we see technological hype for what it is: not mere exuberance, but a form of attention-seeking. As some technological hucksters stake claims on our future and try to foreclose alternatives, we need strong defences. Gemma Milne offers a spotter's guide to hype, using science to bring speculation down to earth. People inside and outside the world of technological innovation need this book.
Jack Stilgoe, author of Who’s Driving Innovation?
'Couldn't be more timely. Fascinating and vitally important'
Jamie Bartlett, author of The People Vs Tech
A much-needed blast of fresh air! Gemma Milne expertly shows us how to separate the truth from the hype surrounding the emerging techs of today, and those of the near-tomorrow.
I loved this book! This is exactly the sort of sceptical, cut-through-the crap-but-still-excited-about-what's-emerging book around tech innovation that's sorely needed, yet is so hard to find. Gemma Milne's writing sparkles and delights as she strips away the hype around nine cutting-edge areas of science and technology while revealing possibilities that are all the more compelling as a result. More than an antidote to over-hyped tech, Smoke & Mirrors is essential reading for anyone who's serious about how real-world advances might be effectively harnessed to build a better future.
Smoke & Mirrors is a vital contribution in a world where technological progress promises so much, but too often disappoints. If, like me, you believe that advances in science and technology are our best hope for solving the grand challenges of our times, this book is the indispensable guide to avoiding the mirages and the charlatans along the way.
A refreshingly grown-up, clear-headed look at the interaction between science, technology and the media - readable without being dumbed down, acknowledging complexities without being heavy.
In this book, we see technological hype for what it is: not mere exuberance, but a form of attention-seeking. As some technological hucksters stake claims on our future and try to foreclose alternatives, we need strong defences. Gemma Milne offers a spotter's guide to hype, using science to bring speculation down to earth. People inside and outside the world of technological innovation need this book.
Stop following the news until you've read Gemma Milne's persuasive analysis of the hype and bullshit that distort our understanding of emerging science. As she shows, the starting point to grasping the genuine opportunities of AI, life sciences and climate tech is a healthy dose of critical thinking
David Rowan, founding editor of WIRED UK and author of Non-Bullshit Innovation: Radical Ideas from the World's Smartest Minds
A really interesting read . . . thought-provoking. It shines a spotlight on issues that are all too frequently left out of the narrative around over-hyped technological innovation. For those working in science communication and general tech lovers alike, this book will certainly open your eyes to some important questions.
Jamie Durrani, Chemistry World
Healthy and informed scepticism.
Financial Times