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To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism Paperback – March 4, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
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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."
Bruce Sterling, author of The Hacker Crackdown
"For the brilliant dissident Evgeny Morozov, computers are like broken beach-toys on the dark, historic tides of power politics. His new book should be bound in sandpaper and used to abrade the works of other Internet pundits."
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, distinguished professor of risk engineering at NYU-Polytechnic and author of The Black Swan and Antifragile
"A clear voice of reason and critical thinking in the middle of today's neomania.”
David Rieff, author of A Bed For the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis
Evgeny Morozov calls himself a digital heretic,’ and he is right to do so. Against the reigning consensusthat there is a digital fix for every social and political problem, and that thanks to the technologies that we group together for convenience’s sake as the Internet, the brave new world of the future will be one of endless, limitless improvement in every realm of lifeMorozov offers a sophisticated, eloquent, and definitive rebuttal. Technological solutionism,’ he argues, is the romantic utopia of our age, and, like Communism or the free market fantasies of Reagan and Thatcher before it, it is one more god doomed to fail. In our ahistorical, gadget obsessed, and self-regarding age, Morozov’s skeptical, modest humanism will doubtless engender fierce resistance. But then, that is the tribute that self-delusion has always paid to reason. Voltairean in its lucidity, To Save Everything, Click Here is not just a brilliant book, it is a necessary one.”
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of the Republic of Estonia
When it comes to anything internet’ related, Evgeny Morozov is the writer who brings us back to earth. Lubricated by snake oil, too much of what we read about the internet and the possibilities offered by modern technology is hypertext hyperbole. In this riotous read, Morozov continues his quest to restore empirical rationality in our own thinking about our techno-utopian pipe-dreams. We have become gullible to what Morozov calls solutionism, the idea that whatever complex situation we face, we can solve it simply by finding the right algorithm, and thanks to technology we can find a solution. We have seen this before, with Condorcet and other thinkers of the Enlightenment, but then, as now, too much reliance on mathematics when we are dealing with problems of people and society leads inevitably to failure. Today, we who live, work, and dream in cyberspace need Morozov to keep our feet firmly planted on Terra Firma.”
Can technology solve social problems? To an extent, perhaps, writes [Morozov]. But for every Utopian application of a computer, dystopia awaits: Technology may afford hitherto disenfranchised or at least undercounted people an equal voice, but inside the world of clicks, likes and read-throughs lurk dragons . Healthy skepticism and a useful corrective for those who believe that we’ll somehow engineer ourselves out of our current mess.”
John Gray, author of Straw Dogs
A devastating exposé of cyber-utopianism by the world's most far-seeing Internet guru”
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
Mozorov’s argument remains cogent and necessary, especially considering the ubiquitous Internet-centrism of most commentary. Dreams of technocratic utopia falter when specifics are examined, and a more grounded and thoughtful re-evaluation is needed to achieve the authentic liberation of the self-promised, but thus far compromised, by naïve visions of the Internet.” Mozorov proves that.”STC Technical Communication journal
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Top Customer Reviews
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!)
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 ›
Enter Evgeny Morozov. This book is a scathing attack on advocates of "the Internet," which Morozov invariably and rightly puts in scare quotes, because its champions celebrate a sinister chimera. It is a careful and thoughtful analysis of how we do and can think, of how can formulate our problems in order to solve them. The connection of these two aims is the heart of the book. Morozov makes a formidable and depressing case for a crazed, cheerleaderly numbness in our time, in which enthusiasm for technological means makes us virtually incapable of understanding their relation to real and possible ends. At the least, he annihilates the case for cyber utopias and technological optimism, through convincing demonstrations that they are poorly argued and factually groundless.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
OK, the two main points are well made. Solutionism and Internet Centrism are generally not helpful.
Unfortunately these points were made in the introduction. Read more
As someone deeply interested in how technology is changing society I believed I would like this book and learn from it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Modern Primate
This book is a relentless critique of “solutionism” and “internet centrism”.
Solutionism is the belief that every problem that humankind faces can be solved by the use of... Read more
Evgeny Morozov is an essential voice for all of us regarding all kinds of factors about our relationship with the Internet. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
I had to purchase this for a graduate class, and this is a painful read. It is difficult to understand, and the writing is pretentious. It's riddled with spelling errors. Read morePublished 14 months ago by CB
Small print in the title of this book - “The Folly of Tech Solutionism” - pretty much summarizes what it is about if one simply ignores attendant implications, and mind boggling... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Phillip Skaga
I enjoyed this book, but it was difficult to digest in more than 5-10 pages at a time. There are times when the examples move along quickly. Read morePublished 18 months ago by William Treseder
I'm a Dutch journalist:
Evgeny Morozov's Bitter Experience of getting it Right
`The internet' doesn't exist and doesn't offer remedies for countless big and... Read more