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Qualityland — a Book Review

by Mark P. McDonald  |  October 15, 2019  |  Comments Off on Qualityland — a Book Review

There always seems to be a book that brings a future into focus in a broadly accessible way. 1984, Brave New World and other books like that described a social future. Qualityland is in that same genre, focusing on what life could be like in a world driven by digital giants, analytics and social media. Highly recommended for everyone to read.

The book covers the experience of Peter Jobless, a down on his luck, semi-slacker who lives at the bottom of society in Qualityland. We follow his experiences with love, politics, commerce, analytics and social media. I will not go into details as that will spoil the read, but the author Marc-Uwe Kling makes this potential world very accessible.

Qualityland, the renamed country where Peter lives, captures the quirkiness of a world defined not by its reality, but by marketing slogans. Everything is the best in Qualityland, every product is the newest every person is a Qualityperson. This is doublespeak taken to its social media extreme. These and other constructs give the book a 1984 feel.

Analytics and social media-based standing are essential in this society. Technology is everywhere, telling people what to do, think and in many ways how to feel. In QualityLand mistakes are impossible. Nothing is repaired. Analytics are infallible in this society. When a mistake happens, the limitations of the digital society come to light.

There are numerous twists and turns making for an engaging story and a good read. There are some tawdry points that make the book more suitable for mature readers.

Marc-Uwe Kling has created a book everyone should read, particularly by those interested or concerned with the future of a digital society. This book is an English translation of the original German language book. This gives the book a different feeling, prose and pace which contribute to the alternative reality the book describes.

If you are concerned about the reach, privacy, intrusiveness potential of digital technology in society then this is a great book. It brings the potential impact of technology on society into focus. Overall an excellent book, that you should read.

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Category: book-review  digital-society  

Mark McDonald
VP Analyst
12 years at Gartner
33 years IT Industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program. Read Full Bio

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