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Review: The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball by Noam Cohen | Saturday Review

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This latest attack on Silicon Valley is utopian and wrongheaded, says David Aaronovitch

Protests in Madrid against Uber, a service initially seen as a modern miracle, now fighting exploitation claimsJUAN MEDINA/REUTERS

It is hard now to recall the misty, innocent days when we thought Steve Jobs was fun and Amazon was useful. I am of that sandwiched generation who grew up with pens, typewriters and the indentation of the tip of the index finger that came from phone dialling. Then we adapted to PCs and smartphones and have been inclined towards gratitude for the way our lives were made easier and more interesting by the work of the Silicon Valley techies. That gratitude, however, is dying with us; the cursors turning to curses.

Noam Cohen’s book is a competent, slightly humourless concoction — half polemic, half potted biographies of the big figures of Big Tech. Most significantly it is a not untypical representative of the mood of…

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