Crime, obesity, poverty or air pollution. What do all these problems have in common? They are a pull for the digital era – the internet is trying to fix them all.
Internet tends to try and solve our lives. How? Data, data and more data: quantifying, recording or gaming behavior are just some of the options. “Silicon Valley aims to solve the problems others have created in our lives”. This is Evgeny Morozov’s blunt approach in analyzing the solutionist nature of the network of networks. “Maximizing efficiency is all that matters”, says this prolific and controversial author, a regular contributor to important international newspapers such as The New York Times, Financial Time, El País or Frankfurter Allgemeine. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to stop and analyze the aims of innovation, also in terms of the online world?
Morozov’s book is a critical overview of the internet’s inherent solutionism. For many, a necessary take when redrawing the lines of the intellectual battle in the era of digital technology. The idea that humanity’s greatest problems can be solved with a few apps is both absurd and simplistic. Is the solution to all our problems just a click away?
Morozov takes the debate to another level – questioning the suitability of the purposes behind innovation on the internet. The work sets out and critiques two dominant ideologies defined by the author as “solutionism” and “internet-centrism”.
The aim, and methods and tools available to achieve it, are the main features in Morozov’s analysis. For technology, “romantic problem-solvers” are the enemy and not their most powerful tool – the internet.
Evgeny Morozov is one of the authors contributing to the latest BBVA book, “Ch@nge”. If you would like to know more about him, you can visit his profile on OpenMind and download his article “The Internet, Politics and the Politics of Internet Debate”.
By Dory Gascueña for OpenMind