Reflections are only that, reflections, nothing more nothing less. Often these reflections are related to books I read, but occasionally also other things. These are often written very late, very fast,  using notes from my mobile phone, so the grammar and spelling is horrible.

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

This is the first book I have read that take on the decline on the US through the “entertainment”/connectivity development we see now. It is an interesting example on how many western people see China as a "threat" that are beyond the control of anything the west (US) can do. The part where US wants to impress the visiting person (the head of China's Central Bank and "probably the most powerful person on the planet") by showing that the US can still innovate is brilliant.

In many ways I would describe this book as the Bukowski version of Daemon (the brilliant book by Daniel Suarez that everyone interesting in technology should read). The need to stay connected and the focus on instant gratification is not very sophisticated, but therefore also very effective. Letting all key characters (almost) be outside the main events in society is and efficient way to create a feeling of lost control. A feeling that seem to drive many in our society into situations where they work without much reflection or thought about any broader consequences of their actions.

The main character is such a sad person that it is hard not to see him as the perfect caricature of a US "intellectual" today.

Sometimes it feels a little to much focus on sex/nudity, but then you realise that this is where we are heading if media/PR/TV continue on the path we are on today.  I hope people in the PR/lobbying/entertainment sector think a little about where things are heading and if they are helping to make a "super sad true love story" a reality.

Maybe even take the time to read Simmel, perhaps The Philosophy of Money.

Immortality by Kevin Bohacz

Immortality is not a bad book, for two evenings of reading it is more than OK. But as many other scifi's I think it ends where it should begin. The merging of man/machine, or upgrade to "human 2.0" is happening now and we need authors to explore the ethical and aesthetic aspects of what is happening.

1. We have close to 2 billion people with overweight,
2. close to a billion people chronically hungry,
3. at the same time as we are killing the planet,
4. we can see the end of the western dominance and
5. the (re-)emergence of other values beside the linear/growth paradigm that has dominated the leading institutions thinking about development.

For each there is a challenge for "transhumanism"
1. Will it only accelerate the need for "more" and individualism (the book and many others highlight the connectivity as a potential force for transformative change)?
2. Is the development helping those in most need of help? The book does not even mention the poor on the planet... and hardly anyone outside the US...
3. How will it help up live more sustainable lives? Here the book highlights current challenges (and actually make them a key part of the plot), but does not talk about actual solutions.
4. China, India and other re-emerging economies will set the agenda in a way that never has been the case though history. It is time for the western civilization to leave room for other cultures, if not we will have "war" in a few decades where the reality and current institutions drift too far apart. Nothing in the book discussed these issues.
5. There is so much focus on the technical development that the ethical aspects are often forgotten. Right when the book end the people of the world face some interesting choices and ethical dilemmas.

Part of me also feel a little uncomfortable with an average book that use the same title as Kundera's masterpiece.