A Gripping Military Horror with Shocking Supernatural Twists
Q&A WITH ERIC LELAND:
AUTHOR OF Inhuman MILITARY THRILLER DEBUT
Question: What inspired you to write Inhuman?
Eric Leland: During a class for my MA I wrote a 25-page short story titled Recon Team: Mercury. That story was shortened to five pages and is now the prologue to Inhuman. For a NaNoWriMo idea I thought it would be interesting to see what happened when the rescuers came looking for the team that disappeared in my original short story. Inhuman is the result.
Q: What sets Inhuman apart from other military and horror books?
EL: The bravado one comes to expect when reading military fiction is quickly ripped away to expose and pick at the delicate flesh of fear and self-doubt we are ashamed to admit exists.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
EL: It was never my intent for Inhuman to be didactic. Primarily I hope readers are entertained. I hope readers will remember the experience of Inhuman rather than any particular lesson.
Q: Inhuman features a diverse cast of characters. How did your military friendships, and experiences with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” inform this inclusivity?
EL: A diverse cast adds verisimilitude to military fiction simply because any U.S. military unit features a diverse roster. In my first combat experience I found myself fighting shoulder to shoulder with Mexican Americans, an African American, and a gay woman. Unfortunately, DADT was still a thing for most of my military career and I would only find out after DADT was repealed that some of my greatest friends were gay. I think truth in fiction is important, and if I did not write a diverse cast I would by lying. Readers can spot a lie from a mile out.
Q: How did you develop your characters? And which of them do you have the strongest connection to?
EL: The character Jaran is heavily based on my wife’s experiences who was born in Vietnam. At an early age, she and her family fled to a refugee camp after the war. The chaos of displacement during war time seemed terrifying. I can’t really say which character I have the strongest connection to—John’s sense of duty; Chris’s refusal to take anything seriously; and Brandon’s severe depression and self-doubt—they’re all variations of me.
Eric Leland grew up in Massena, NY and entered Army basic training upon high school graduation. He was an MP in the Army for six years and reclassified to a Special Agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Eric deployed to Honduras in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 and 2009 where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor. He completed his MA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has happily traded in his gun for a pen. Eric lives in Seattle with his wife. Connect with Eric Leland on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.
Inhuman is available on Amazon in both print and digital.
Customer Service Tips Every Boutique Retailer Should Try
By: Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!
Supplied makes it easier for small boutique owners around the world to access high-quality, affordable wholesale boutique items, whether to stock their physical store or IG shop.
Do you remember the last time you had a truly fantastic customer service experience?
Maybe a cashier complimented your earrings, or maybe the person at the drive-thru unexpectedly threw an extra taco in for free. Or maybe you were just really vibin’ with the enthusiasm you could hear at the other end of the customer support line. Whatever it was, chances are it made you more excited to return and support that company with your business in the future.
Now… think back to the last time you had an awful customer service experience.
Was someone being unnecessarily difficult while you were trying to return a sweater, you’d bought a week ago? Or did someone leave you on hold for hours and hours? Or maybe someone just would NOT honor your coupon, even though you received it in an email yesterday?
Whatever that bad experience was… I’d be willing to bet it made you a whole lot less likely to go back anytime soon.
As Vince Lombardi famously said, “It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.” One poor customer service experience could cause you to lose all of a valuable customer’s future business.
If you haven’t been making great customer service a major priority in your boutique lately, now is the time to change that.
Read on to learn 25 powerful (but easy!) customer service tips every retailer should try implementing in their business.
(If you’ve hired someone else as the main customer service rep for your boutique business, send this article along to them as a reminder!)
Top 25 Customer Service Tips
Focus on the customer in front of you
As a boutique owner, you’ve constantly got about a zillion and one thing that need your time and attention. But when it’s a customer you’re dealing with, zero in on them and their needs. Nobody likes feeling unimportant – make sure you give them your undivided attention while they’re talking to you, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or in your site’s live chat.
Chances are, you’ve been in the exact same situation your customer’s in right now – whether they’re trying to figure out what size shoe to purchase or they’re trying to initiate a return for something that didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. Do your best to see the situation from their perspective. You’ll be able to provide a better customer experience if you’re in touch with their needs and emotions.
Make an extra effort
Work tirelessly to solve your customer’s problems. If a customer wants a certain size that’s out of stock, double-check your inventory, let them know when they can expect that item to come back, offer them alternatives, or give them a discount code for their trouble. Your customers will appreciate you going the extra mile for them.
Customer service isn’t just about making your customer feel valued while you’re speaking to them – it’s also about providing a great all-around customer experience. Do a quick audit of your website and make sure it’s user-friendly. Is it easy to check out? Browse new arrivals? Search for specific items? Purchase using the payment method they prefer? If not, set aside some time to make some adjustments.
Identify their needs
There might be all sorts of things you could be doing to provide a better customer experience that you don’t even realize yet. Put together a short survey to send out to your customers about the checkout process and their past customer service experiences. It’ll show you what’s going well and what you could improve.
Use their name
Simple, but effective. Whenever a customer reaches out to you, take note of their name and use it. It’ll give your communications a more personal touch. (Don’t forget to introduce yourself by name, too!) Bonus points if you remember other personal details about them for next time.
Yes, even if you’re not talking to the customer in person! Make an effort to be friendly and positive, even if you’re just sitting at your desk at home – you can totally hear a smile through the phone, and it makes a difference.
If you could spend $5 to secure a customer who’s loyal to you for life… would you do it? Sometimes, that’s all it takes. When a customer reaches out to you, your priority is to make them happy – offering free shipping or accepting a late return can do just the trick. And that’s not just common sense – research shows that accepting someone’s generosity makes you feel indebted to them, which can translate to return business.
Don’t say “I don’t know”
Sure, you’re not gonna immediately have the answers to every single one of your customers’ questions… but it’s kinda your job to know. So, when you tell a customer “I don’t know,” what they hear is “I don’t care.” Not exactly the message you’d like to get across when you’re on the phone with a customer! Practice saying “Let me check on that for you” instead.
Acknowledging your customer’s birthdays is a surefire way to make them feel valued and appreciated. Ask your customers for your birthday as they sign up for your mailing list, then send them an email with a promo code for a free gift or a discount right before their special day.
Be clear about your policies
Your customers aren’t mind-readers – if you don’t let them know, they have no idea about how long shipping should take, where you ship to, or under what circumstances you accept returns. Be sure your shipping and returns policies are clearly stated on your website to avoid confusion. It’ll answer some questions before they’re ever even asked!
Honor your promises
Your customers need to know that they can trust your boutique to deliver the value it promises. Stick to the shipping and return policies you have listed on your website (unless you choose to go above and beyond them, of course!) Honor coupons and discount codes for as long as you said you would. Post any giveaway winners publicly in your stories. Trust is key!
Acknowledge frequent customers…
Let your return customers know how much you appreciate them! Whether you throw a quick handwritten thank-you note into their next order or you offer a discount code that’s good for their next purchase, it’ll definitely make them want to keep coming back.
But make sure new customers feel the love, too!
It’s a big leap to order from a company you’ve never purchased anything from before – make sure new customers feel super welcome. Acknowledge new customers by offering free shipping on their first order, sending a promo code when they sign up for your mailing list, or even sending a quick thank-you email for taking a chance on your shop.
Running a business is tough, and sometimes extenuating circumstances make it even tougher. Be open with your customers about the hurdles you’re currently going through, especially if it will affect shipping times or restock dates.
We all make mistakes – especially when we’re doing huge, crazy difficult things like running a business. If you’ve made a mistake on a customer’s order, own your error, sincerely apologize, and do whatever it takes to make things right. It’s much more professional than shrugging off responsibility or blaming someone else. (Bonus points if you reach out and own up to it before the customer even notices!)
Make it easy to get in touch
Have you ever sent an email to a company’s customer service team… and then never heard anything back? Yeah, that’s the worst. Don’t be that company. Let your customers know the best way to reach you, whether it’s through Instagram DMs, email, or over the phone. If you want to go the extra mile, include a live chat feature on your website that’s available 24/7. (Also, word of advice: if you have a contact form on your website, make sure to check it every so often!)
Offer self-help customer service
If your customers can find their own answers to their questions, it makes their lives easier AND your life easier. Include a comprehensive FAQ page on your website that answers common questions about shipping, sales, returns, and more. For more complicated questions, you might want to write up an entire blog post to give your customers more information. Just be sure your customers still know that they can reach out to you with any questions they can’t find the answers to.
Plan for the holidays
Here’s a hot tip: over the holidays, things get BUSY. Even if you usually don’t have very many people blowing up your inbox about shipping questions, there’s a very good chance you will during the holidays. Make sure you’re prepared with multiple customer service reps helping respond to questions (if need be) and detailed holiday shipping info displayed on your website and social media pages.
Make it a goal to respond to all customer emails within 48 hours whenever possible. No matter how busy you are, customers want to feel like their concerns and questions are a top priority. As for Instagram DMs, Facebook messages, and comments, try and get in a habit of responding to those right when you see them. (Your customers will like that and so will the algorithm!)
Hire the right people
If you’ve only recently opened your boutique business, you might be the only person your customers ever interact with. But as you grow and add more people to your team, make sure they’re people who are kind, friendly, and pleasant to interact with. Nobody’s perfect, but a positive attitude can make all the difference.
Pretend you’re at the dinner table with your strict aunt – say lots of pleases and thank yous. Not only is it common courtesy, but it’s also good business. It’ll also help you still sound friendly and polite even when you’re communicating via messenger or text.
Set clear expectations
Sorry, but you’re not superwoman. When your customers approach you asking when they can buy an item you aren’t planning on restocking, or when they ask if you can make sure the package, they just ordered gets to them by tomorrow, sometimes you just can’t give them the answer they were hoping for. Be realistic in your responses and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Setting clear expectations is also helpful in responding to emails – sending an automated email letting a customer know when they can expect a response is also helpful, even if they were initially hoping for a reply right away.
There isn’t a robot at the other end of all of those incoming customer emails – it’s bright, bubbly, sparkly you! Don’t be afraid to infuse your communications with your genuine personality. Strike up a conversation with a customer on the phone, ask about their day, say “top of the morning to ya” instead of “hello” when you feel like it. It’ll help forge a relationship with your customers!
Have you ever asked a waiter what you should order, only for them to respond, “I love everything on the menu equally!” Yeah, that’s not helpful – don’t be like that guy. When your customers ask for your opinion, politely give it. You’re the real expert on the products you carry – use your insider knowledge to guide your customers to the right decision for them.
FROM HUMAN CHESS TO PADDLEBOARDING:
UNIQUE WAYS CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE CELEBRATED THROUGHOUT JAPAN
With the much-anticipated arrival of their delicate pink flowers, the cherry trees blossoming in Japan is a yearly spectacle. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, cherry blossoms in Tokyo are expected to bloom on March 15th this year. Associated with renewal and the coming spring, the cherry blossoms (or sakura) spur a variety of unique celebrations and experiences throughout the country, with many cities and towns forming their own yearly traditions and unique ways to see the cherry blossoms.
Cruise the Matsukawa River, Toyama Prefecture
Travelers can enjoy hanami (the custom of flower viewing in Japan) as well as the beautiful landscapes of Toyama Prefecture on a special cruise along the Matsukawa River. During cherry blossom season, cruises on the river drift along with the relaxing current and make their way through tunnels of cherry blossom trees. Cruises begin and end outside of the Matsukawa Tea House, so travelers can enjoy a nice cup of tea after a peaceful afternoon of hanami.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride Through Kitakami Tenshochi Park, Iwate Prefecture
A massive park spanning over 700 acres, the Kitakami Tenshochi Park has been a favorite for hanami among both locals and travelers for decades. 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the park’s opening and there is a myriad of ways for travelers to see the cherry blossoms, such as taking a riverboat cruise, or taking a ride on a horse-drawn carriage underneath the “tunnel of pink.” Cherry blossom branches stretch out from the trees on both sides of the walkway and form a floral tunnel that travelers can traverse
Human Chess Match at Tendo Sakura Matsuri, Yamagata Prefecture
Ninety percent of Japanese chess pieces, or shogi, are produced in the city of Tendo. Every April, as over 2,000 cherry blossoms bloom, locals and travelers gather to watch a human chess match, or shogi battle, in Maizuru Park, where two professional chess players compete with humans dressed as samurai and servants in place of chess pieces. The festival also features taiko (Japanese drum) performances and delicious festival food like yakisoba noodles and takoyaki balls.
Stand-up Paddleboarding in Shiga Prefecture
In Kyoto, travelers who want to partake in hanami can go stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Biwa to see cherry blossoms bloom along the coast. Shirahage SUP at the Shirahige Beach Campsite offers travelers the opportunity to see the cherry blossoms directly from the crystal blue waters of Lake Biwa.
Moka Railway Ride in Tochigi Prefecture
The city of Moka in Tochigi Prefecture is perhaps most known for the Moka Railway, which has been operating for over 100 years. During the spring when cherry blossoms begin to bloom, the railway line becomes a popular attraction since its track is almost completely surrounded by cherry blossoms and rape flowers. Travelers can book a trip on the scenic railway between Mogi station and Shimodate station for an unforgettable hanami ride.
Boating Under Hirosaki Castle, Aomori Prefecture
Hirosaki Castle is well-known as a top destination for hanami. Since local apple farmers prune the cherry trees the same way they do apples, the trees end up with two to three times more flowers than normal. To see the lush, pink flowers, guests often rent a rowboat and sail it out on the river surrounded by cherry blossoms. The sparkling river coupled with the towering castle and the bright petals makes for a fairy tale to come to life.
Noh Plays at Night, Tokyo
Under the lovely cherry blossoms of Yasukuni Shrine, a stage is set and traditional plays called noh are performed. These plays often date back to the 14th century and include kyogen (comedic spoken dramas) and maibayashi (a shorter version of noh with music). Performed, under the yozakura (cherry blossoms at night), the plays are enhanced by the atmosphere of the lit-up blossoms and the bonfire, two integral elements of this experience. Japan’s top actors and actresses are known to take the stage.
Events and experiences above are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit the website.
Introducing DesignBar.io, the first-of-its-kind digital ‘social’ club for small business owners in architecture and design that was born in a cloud. The virtual club allows like-minded entrepreneurs and small business owners to socialize, dine & drink together, and have meaningful conversations about culture, art, travel, fashion, and attend live events. The private, members-only club solves the problem of design professionals who are tired of the day-to-day, monotonous work, seeking an outlet to socialize in a relaxing and safe environment, from anywhere.
With a stunning timeless exterior, the interior has a lot to live up to as members are greeted with a live front desk receptionist. At Bar 8, one can grab a virtual seat and connect with others over an inventive cocktail while participating in Livestream video conversations. The Meeting Room offers live events, a live DJ, and band sets. One can also use a digital device while cooking with curated chefs at the Kitchen Table or participate in Livestream mixology demonstrations at the Cocktail Bar. At Ella’s, one can make a meal at home with enticing recipes from the most renowned chefs in the world; pick up a meal or get one delivered before a group dinner date, even offering a virtual teatime and brunch!
Debora says, “DesignBar.io has partnered with an established online table-reservation platform so members can dine-in, pick up, get order delivery services from local restaurants while connecting with members during Livestream events. Our club offers live dinner parties, wine tastings, and other social events where you can meet up with others from the comfort of your home or anywhere.”
The club will be launching in May 2021. Once you’re approved, you’ll receive a digital key to access DesignBar.io’s community platform to share your experiences, view others’ stories, comment, and cheer with the club’s professionals. If this club sounds enticing, Join the waitlist!
For more information on the digital destination’s essence through extraordinary, curated experiences, from live food demonstrations to unique events, please visit the links below. For press inquiries and interviews, please contact Kat by email or call 305-490-5911.
DesignBar.io has designed an elegant, intimate atmosphere in the cloud for its members. Whether you are meeting new people in the forum, at a live dining event, or participating in a cocktail or food demonstration, DesignBar.io is for those from the architecture and design business community. No matter where you are, whether it’s home or anywhere in the world, your social club is just a click away.
It all began with creating a playground for like-minded entrepreneurs and small business owners in the cloud. From the live lobby lounge, bar, meeting room, demonstration spaces, and a restaurant, this is the digital building, perfected. The two demonstration spaces will include the Kitchen Table for chef cooking demos and the Cocktail Bar for curated mixologist demos.
More about DSH & CO.:
DSH & CO. is a digital service agency and consultancy that focuses on strategy, design + technology. Launched in 2008, we bridge design together with business strategy & technology to help small design business owners start, grow, and run their design businesses. We never stop innovating and expanding our offerings based on how to best serve architects, interior designers, and related professionals in Rye, NY, and beyond.
Today, design businesses have become more mobile in this climate. DSH & CO. digital services give business owners everything they need to make their daily work lives easier, regardless of where they are. With intuitive services and platforms, stay connected with your team, create new experiences and strategies to reinvent your design business to better engage with your design team and clients.
Stranger Things: The Drive Into Experience recently opened in downtown Los Angeles, giving fans the opportunity to enter the world of the hit Netflix series from the safety of their cars. Hidden on Alameda Street, the socially distant event transports you back to 1985 to attend the Hawkins High School Reunion.
The socially-distant experience begins as you pull into the illuminated parking lot of the Starcourt Mall and tune into the FM radio station where you can hear all of the audio for the event. The pre-show is hosted by Hawkins Middle School science teacher turned emcee, Mr. Clark. The event is immersive right from the start, with Mr. Clark engaging drivers and passengers in different activities such as trivia, a lip sync challenge and a best-dressed contest.
Eighties music blasts through car speakers as vehicles are directed by parking lot attendants disguised as Lynx employees from season three of the series. After guests have their tickets scanned, they are given a menu to order food and beverages directly to their car. Drivers and passengers can place their order online and will be helped by a server dressed as a Scoops Ahoy employee.
Every aspect of the event is themed, even with face masks being attributed to a “chemical leak” that had occurred in Hawkins. While you are waiting to get into the experience, you can watch Mr. Clark host the event from the stage, and you may even see Eleven or Max amongst the crowd. Mike, Lucas and Will weave through the cars on their bicycles and you might even get the chance to interact with them.
When it is your turn to enter the experience, you drive past the Starcourt Mall, and into a parking garage where the remainder of the event takes place. As you are entering, Chief Hopper and Murray can be heard over the radio discussing how they have to save Dustin who is stuck under the mall.
As you enter the experience, you are first greeted by Steve and Robin as Dustin tries to save them from the Russian soldiers who have infiltrated Hawkins and are stationed underneath Starcourt. In the process of doing this, Dustin accidentally released the demogorgon, who is chased through the cars until Steve is successfully able to trap it back into the Upside Down. The trio then enlists drivers and passengers to go and find the mindflayer.
The next scene brings guests into what looks like the Upside Down where cars are surrounded by eerie red lights and other-worldly sets. Screens depict the mindflayer leaving Will’s body at the end of season two and entering Billy’s during season 3. Soldiers then come around, searching throughout the cars and shining their flashlights into windows.
The third and final scene leads guests to the roof of the parking garage where the set is made up of a large stage and multiple screens. Billy emerges as the mindflayer from under the stage, and is joined by the other Hawkins residents who have also been “flayed.” Eleven then enters the scene and tries to fight the monster, as the audience is given a look at her past throughout the series.
After an intense battle where Eleven flies above the crowd, she is victorious in defeating the mindflayer and is embraced on stage by her friends, and greeted by her past self. As the characters exit the stage, the sound of a news station talking about the mysterious events at the mall plays through car speakers.
Just as you think the experience is over, Dustin and his long-distance girlfriend from science camp, Suzie recreate what is arguably one of the most iconic scenes from the series. From opposite ends of the stage, the couple sing the theme song from the 1894 film The NeverEnding Story, just as they do in the last episode of season 3, creating the perfect, feel-good ending to this one-of-a-kind experience.
As you exit the experience, guests are given the opportunity to purchase exclusive merchandise.
This event truly makes guests feel as if they have been placed in an episode of Stranger Things, caught up in the action of Hawkins and the Upside Down. It is the perfect way for super fans to come together safely as a community and feel that they are part of the beloved show.
The drive into experience is presented by Netflix and Fever with Secret Cinema. Prices for the event vary depending on which day and time customers are purchasing tickets for. Standard Access includes admission and access to the Hawkins Online Portal prior to the event where you can create your student profile. In addition to this, VIP Access includes a special welcome to the event, faster entry and a mystery box containing merchandise, snacks and beverages.
Guests remain in their car throughout the experience and masks are worn by employees at all times and by drivers and passengers when speaking to the staff. The event is currently scheduled to take place through Sunday, March 7.
Relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren is something that families take great pride in and enjoy to immeasurable degrees. Unfortunately, the current quarantine has put many grandparents into situations where they are unable to see their families, and I went through something similar with my own grandfather years ago. But the difference is that today’s grandparents are doing what they can to ensure they can see their grandchildren once the quarantine is over, just as referenced in this article by Robin Marantz Henig.But that does not mean that the process is not difficult.
I miss my grandfather. He has been gone for almost 40 years but our relationship is one that I have treasured all of my life. I remember his warmth, his wisdom, and above all his affection. My grandfather introduced me to wonderful things life had to offer such as jazz and the comic genius of Charlie Chaplin. We had our own private jokes which made us laugh and no one else could understand. I found a tremendous amount of comfort going to his house to just enjoy talking and playing together. Something simple as sharing a bag of M&M’s or a Snickers bar was a treat. And then once we had enough and were tuckered out, I found great comfort falling asleep with him in his recliner as he crooned “Shortnin’ Bread” in my ear. Then my parents had to ruin it by coming to pick me up.
I will never forget the last time he was in the hospital. At eleven years old, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t see my beloved “Atun”, as I called him. His immune system was low due to the disease he was fighting and the doctors were hesitant about having too many people visit, especially children. All I know is that I was unable to see my grandfather and in my young mind, it didn’t make sense. All I wanted was to see Atun. In an article by Colleen Temple, I understand exactly how the children referenced feel.
Daily I kept hearing from my family that Atun was getting better, and that I would be able to see him once he came home. I held that thought in my head, had tremendous hope and I looked forward to seeing him reclining in his favorite chair. I started drawing pictures of us together and making cards to show him how much I missed him. I listened to jazz records that he loved, and I even watched Charlie Chaplin films, and imagined him next to me. I did get to hear his voice on the phone, but he sounded weak and tired, not as peppy as he always was. But he reassured me that he would be home soon and what wonderful times still lie ahead of us. I told him I couldn’t wait.
But God had other plans and, one morning, I was awoken by my sister and she and I had our first difficult discussion. She shared the news that Atun was not coming home. I bawled my eyes out. I felt cheated and betrayed. Who was to say that the last time that I saw him prior to his going into the hospital was the last time I would ever see him?
I am grateful for the fact that I was able to speak with him over the phone to hear his voice. And as modern technology has evolved, grandkids and their grandparents are able to see each other’s faces through Facetime and other inventions. However, these means are not a substitute for human contact and the warmth we feel when those we love are close to us. We miss kisses, long warm hugs, and just the solace of cuddling and sitting next to our family members.
During these times, we need to hold on to the memories and the times shared to get us through this pandemic. We don’t know how long this will last and that is the other factor that makes this experience so difficult. If we had a deadline we could work towards, it might make it easier. But we don’t. All families are trying to do now to remain healthy so that once the quarantine is lifted, they can be reunited.
Since I haven’t seen my grandfather in years, the memories and experiences I shared with him live in my mind and my heart daily. It was because of everything he taught me and the love he gave me that I felt compelled to write Coffee and Cedar: Finding Strength From Memories. As difficult times arise and we feel helpless and unsure about what the future holds, we need to look to the teachings of our elders, whether they are either alive or have passed, to help us persevere. Their wisdom and insight help us overcome hurdles and hard times just as they did. They build us up, make us feel secure and uncover the confidence and resilience that exist in each of us. Whenever I am met with a challenge, I think of Atun and how he would tell me, “El sol no se tapa con un dedo.” He was telling me that the talent and gifts that I had inside of me were impossible to be denied, no matter what criticism or obstacle came my way. And that gave me confidence and the ability to move forward to pursue my dreams. Our mentors instilled confidence in us and the strength to overcome anything, and that is what we all need to remember. This situation will come to an end. And once it does, we will rejoice and truly take advantage of the time together. But until then, we need to be strong. Because the more we do to control the pandemic, the sooner we can be reunited. So, remember, hold onto those memories of the past and use them as a way to warm your soul to have hope for many more wonderful times to be shared in the coming months.
Everyday new warnings emerge about artificial intelligence rebelling against us. All the while, a more immediate dilemma flies under the radar. Have forces been unleashed that are thrusting humanity down an ill-advised path, one that’s increasingly making us behave like simple machines?
Brett Frischmann is The Charles Widger Endowed University Professor in Law, Business and Economics at Villanova University. He is also an affiliated scholar of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, and a trustee for the Nexa Center for Internet & Society, Politecnico di Torino. He has published foundational books on the relationships between infrastructural resources, governance, commons, and spillovers.
Evan Selinger is Professor of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he is also the Head of Research Communications, Community, and Ethics at the Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity. A Senior Fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum, his primary research is on the ethical and privacy dimensions of emerging technology. Selinger is a prolific writer and his next anthology is The Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Privacy, co- edited with JulesPolontesky and OmerTene (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018). A strong advocate of public philosophy, he regularly writes for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, and Wired.
Advance Praise Re-Engineering Humanity
Frischmann and Selinger provide a thoroughgoing and balanced examination of the tradeoffs inherent in offloading tasks and decisions to computers. By illuminating these often intricate and hidden tradeoffs, and providing a practical framework for assessing and negotiating them, the authors give us the power to make wiser choices.
Nicolas Carr, author of The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us, from the Foreword
Re-Engineering Humanity brings a pragmatic if somewhat dystopic perspective to the technological phenomena of our age. Humans are learning machines and we learn from our experiences. This book made me ask myself whether the experiences we are providing to our societies are in fact beneficial in the long run.
Vint Cerf, Co-Inventor of the Internet
Frischmann and Selinger deftly and convincingly show why we should be less scared of robots than of becoming more robotic, ourselves. This book will convince you why it’s so important we embed technologies with human values before they embed us with their own. Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock, Program or Be Programmed, and Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus.
Everybody is suddenly worried about technology. Will social media be the end of democracy? Is automation going to eliminate jobs? Will artificial intelligence make people obsolete? Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger boldly propose that the problem isn’t the rise of ‘smart’ machines but the dumbing down of humanity. This refreshingly philosophical book asks what’s lost when we outsource our decision-making to algorithmic systems we don’t own and barely understand. Better yet, it proposes conceptual and practical ways to reclaim our autonomy and dignity in the face of new forms of computational control.
Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Control in the Digital Age
A magnificent achievement. Writing in the tradition of Neil Postman, Jacque Ellul and Marshall McLuhan, this book is the decade’s deepest and most powerful portrayal of the challenges to freedom created by our full embrace of comprehensive techno-social engineering. A rewarding and stimulating book that merits repeated readings and may also cause you to reconsider how you live life.
Tim Wu, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School, and author of The Attention Merchants
About Cambridge University Press
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