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No one writing about technology seems to read more or faster than Morozov. Now twenty-eight and just starting his graduate work at Harvard, Morozov already grasps wide swaths of several scholarly fields and weaves them together astutely. To Save Everything, Click Here is a heavy read, and it covers a vast array of material, from how we think about privacy (poorly) to the dangers of quantifying everything we can. It serves as a sharp corrective to the complacencies of our latter-day techno-prophets. —Siva Vaidhyanathan
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A devastating expose of cyber-utopianism by the world's most far-seeing Internet guru -- John Gray, author of 'Straw Dogs' Evgeny Morozov is the most challenging - and best-informed - critic of the Techno-Utopianism surrounding the Internet. If you've ever had the niggling feeling, as you spoon down your google, that there's no such thing as a free lunch, Morozov's book will tell you how you might end up paying for it -- Brian Eno A clear voice of reason and critical thinking in the middle of today's neomania -- Nassim Taleb, author of 'The Black Swan' This hard-hitting book argues people have become enslaved to the machines they use to communicate. It is incisive and beautifully written; whether you agree with Morozov or not, he will make you think hard -- Richard Sennett, author of 'Together' Praise for The Net Delusion: Gleefully iconoclastic ... not just unfailingly readable: it is also a provocative, enlightening and welcome riposte to the cyber-utopian worldview Economist A passionate and heavily researched account of the case against the cyber-utopians ... -- Bryan Appleyard New Statesman Selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 New York Times
Wow, this one will surely prove controversial. Morozov is like Mike Tyson of Internet punditry: from the very first pages of "To Save Everything...", he goes straight for the jugular, accusing a coterie of fellow Internet intellectuals for treating what he calls "the Internet" - he uses it in square quotes throughout the book - as a fixed entity, with its own logic and inspirit. What he wants instead is a more dynamic, constructivist account that would recognize the sheer diversity of logics that "the Internet" represents. This is Morozov's critique of Internet-centrism.
There's also a second, parallel critique that he advances in the book: that of solutionism - which he defines as the tendency to define problems as problems based solely on the fact that we have nice and quick technological solutions for solving them. The book then traces how these two intellectual pathologies - solutionism and Internet-centrism - interact in the context of recent efforts to fix politics, promote transparency, track and gamify everything, make crime impossible through situational crime prevention and predictive policing, and so forth.
It's not an easy book to read, not least because Morozov draws on what must be hundreds of thinkers to make his point. (And, wow, his range is impressive: I'm yet to read a book that references both Paul Ricoeur and Jeff Jarvis!) While it's a challenging read, it proves very rewarding, especially as the book progresses. The sections on design are to kill for.
There's a bit of "everyone but me is wrong" feel to this book but it's hardly a good reason to ignore it - what if Morozov is, indeed, right that everyone is wrong? Whatever one makes of him and his style, this book is so far the most significant challenge to the mindset of Silicon Valley and its apologists in the tech media and the lecture circuit (Morozov helpfully namechecks most of them in the book!)
Snarky? Check. Contrarian? Check. Demanding? Check. That's enough checks for me: most books don't go that far. So, to be blunt: whatever its flaws, this book deserves to be widely read and argued about. Is it perfect? Hell no. Morozov doesn't know when to stop and he is occasionally too full of himself to be enjoyable; at times, this book reads like "Imagine That: Some People Are Wrong on the Internet About the Internet." (Morozov, of course, would say that this last sentence is pure nonsense, for "the Internet" doesn't exist. Okay, Professor!) He's lucky his relatives are no Internet theorists - or he would destroy them as well (that's a Pavlik Morozov joke right there!)
The book somehow manages to stay extremely funny (Morozov has a great eye for the ridiculous and the surreal; his epigrams are hilarious - especially the Franny Armstrong quote comparing soccer and the Internet) and also very serious (too serious at times; there's way too much theory in it - it could easily lose some Dewey and Giddens, not to mention of that other enfant terrible, Bruno Latour).
There's a certain schizophrenic flavor to this text: after all, here's an Internet pundit writing a biting manifesto against Internet punditry. Morozov's critique is both of substance that underpins much Internet thinking - it overlooks deeply political and moral questions and only focuses on efficiency and innovation - and of its style - it presents the Internet as a coherent and revolutionary force, a theoretical move that we have taken for granted for far too long.Read more ›
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Morozov's newest entry in tech criticism bursts with what is now his trademark polemical critique of "tech-evangelists" whereby Morozov finds most other tech thought to be the stuff of children. At best, Morozov, humorous and sharply sardonic, points out Silicon Valley Kumbaya myths that tech geeks willfully repress and laymen ignore. In the text, we attack the many arguments of Rational Idealists who have decided that the Internet is the saving grace and potential force for Good.
Yet, in these times of the impending Google Glass, many of those previously ambivalent are prepared to define the limit of tech interference in common life. Morozov states that the "lines are drawn" and the "battle will take a new shape," yet the book gives hardly any indication how or what resistance may look like. Why? He thirsts instead for e-debates with low hanging fruit, bravely debunking the endless cascade of pedantic details that journalists hope will inspire your "click". For one, he argues as if pro-tech practitioners and commentators of all levels of influence and stature can be seen as a coherent mass of Silicon Valley Worshipers or "Internet-Centrists." Clarity is obscured by references to products and people that you probably will never have heard of had Morozov not decided they fall under the category of "imminent threat to liberal democracies." For example, much ink was spilled concerning an "innovator" who hoped measuring the variables of his bowel movements would bring further enlightenment.
His true literary talent lies in sarcastically turning the techspeak of Valley wonks and trendsetters against them, in a classic reductio ad absurdum.Read more ›