The Software Society

How digital technology is changing our culture and economy

Technology and Society book

Is The Software Society: Cultural and Economic Impact a technology and society book or a technology and economics book? Yes.
Perhaps an ambitious scope, but, after all, economics is about society, about people, about human behavior. While some economic theory tries to reduce human behavior to mathematics, the assumptions required to do so are easy to argue with. For example, “efficient market” theory says every consumer acts independently, making decisions on what to buy and at what price without any interaction from other consumers. This has never been the case, and today, with people sharing opinions on products and services over the Internet, technology has made human behavior even more networked, connected, and dependent.

Attempts to take human behavior and emotions out of economics have largely failed. Look at the behavior of the stock market. Attempts to model daily moves as a “normal” distribution with a predictable variance (“standard deviation”) would predict that major market drops that we have seen are once-in-a-billion occurrences. People are coupled, and panic can affect us all as we see our assets rapidly dropping on a major market swing.

We get optimistic together as well. If we didn’t participate in the 2013 stock market rally, we are tempted to jump into stocks just as the rally is probably flattening, if not worse. Mortgage lenders saw other lenders investing in subprime mortgages, and jumped on the bandwagon, assuming it would continue to roll on.

The Software Society relates technology, our society and culture, and the economic behavior that results. They are all connected. It is a technology and society book and a technology and economics book, and a technology, society, and economics book!

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