Technically proven. But really? | Book Review – Techproof Me: The Art of Mastering the Constantly Changing Technologies of A Siddharth Pai

From Shubhangi Shah

Technology is changing and evolving rapidly. Only last year we tried to make sense of the Metauniverse, and today we read articles about how companies in different fields perceive it. With that in mind, the idea behind A Siddharth Pai Techproof Me: The Art of Mastering Constantly Changing Technology seems important. In this he writes about ways to keep up with technology and incorporate the same into your business or enterprise you work for without learning how to code.

“This book is about helping you manage, work together, or direct technology without becoming a technologist,” he wrote.

To make a point, he describes his journey in detail. Coming from business education, Pai continued to work for companies such as IBM and KPMG before founding Siana Capital, a Bengaluru-based company that invests in start-ups for deep science and deep technology. “I’ve spent more than 90% of my career in technology,” Pai wrote.

Reading the premise, you can hope for hacks that can help you become “technological” without delving into any particular technology. In addition, you can expect these hacks to be applied in various technologies and remain relevant for at least a few years. In the writer’s own words, “We just need to understand the extensive work and application of a technology to become truly technological.”

But what follows is a mix of basic explanations of countless technologies as diverse as blockchain designed to decentralize finances to CRISPR, a gene editing tool designed to treat debilitating genetic diseases. Yes, it is important to be well informed. But for someone interested in cryptocurrency, wouldn’t a deeper insight into blockchain be more useful than a cursory understanding of both blockchain and CRISPR?

This is where the book hesitates. It’s about so many things to be about everything. For example, Pai explains the difference between artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. But he doesn’t stop there and explains how both will harm jobs, what can be done about the fact that universal basic income (UBI) may be an option, and how UBI is a bad idea. From data privacy to how social media platforms work, and from the supposedly harsh working environment of platforms driven by algorithms like Uber to telemedicine, he has delved into a wide range of topics that can make the reader a daunting task to sift through. useful information on it. Not that the book is devoid of applicable hacks. But they are in sentences here and there that can make it difficult for the reader to maintain and notice them.

Originally in the book, Pai wrote about four “roles you need to play to get the most out of technological change in your business or the organization you work for” and gave them the acronym SOLE, abbreviated to soldier, initiator, leader and empath. And later he dedicated the last four chapters to each of them. However, passing through them, one cannot distinguish between these and others. There’s also a chapter on “voices in our heads” in which the writer seems to be writing about mental health, which is an important part, but makes one wonder if it fits into a book about becoming “technological.”

The good thing is that the book explores technology beyond computers and the Internet. It is divided into 15 short chapters, each of which is divided into smaller sections that make reading easier. However, if you cut part of one head and put it in another, you will not be able to notice the difference.

Also, a significant part of it seems to have been written in 2018. There is a reference to the 2018 article Medium by British economist Umair Haque, the massive data breakthrough in 2018 on Google and Facebook, Google’s earlier plan to launch a censored search engine for China, a project that ended in 2019, etc. The author has taken into account the COVID pandemic and data protection laws, but such wide time frames can make it difficult for the reader to keep up.

After reading the last page of this 187-page book, you will surely learn something or two about technology in various fields. However, it will still leave you confused if you have really been technological.

Techproof Me: The art of mastering ever-changing technology
Siddhartha Pai
Penguin Random House
Page 187, 399 rupees

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