Summary of To Save Everything, Click Here

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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

This ambitious, entertaining and sophisticated discussion improves upon author Evgeny Morozov’s earlier book, The Net Delusion, and features his astute take on history and an interdisciplinary embrace of human complexity. Morozov shows how those who worship technology and the “Internet” oversimplify the problems they think they are solving and, in the process, fail to honor the richness of an embodied, contextualized world. getAbstract recommends Morozov’s insights to futurists, technology enthusiasts and readers seeking a nuanced understanding of how the Internet is and is not changing the world.

About the Author

Evgeny Morozov is a contributing editor at The New Republic and author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom.

 

Summary

The Problem with “Solutionism”

The technophiles at Google and Facebook started by solving technical challenges, but now they’re tackling energy use, recycling and even potholes by adding sensors to consumer objects and utilizing the GPS function in cellphones. Because Silicon Valley wants to save the world, it’s recasting every problem in terms of solvable, short-term goals. This attitude, called “solutionism,” is ambitious, idealistic and pervasive, and it demonstrates a willful, dangerous misunderstanding of human society.

Soon garbage cans will examine trash to identify material that could be composted or recycled. That’s the premise behind BinCam, a good example of solutionism. The project depends on technological breakthroughs – in this case, cheaper sensors and online access to information – to try to change people’s behavior. This solution, as with many others, lacks reflection on how such a tool affects personal liberties.

True, sensors can improve the world. Philadelphia used them to make garbage collection more efficient, and sensors in the homes of elderly people can alert caretakers. Yet, problems emerge from several interwoven but unrecognized assumptions...


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    D. B. 4 years ago
    Books like this are essential to provide balance and perspective and mitigate the inevitable cheerleading that is endemic in technology these days.
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    A. M. 6 years ago
    Very interesting points to think about and comprehend but the content is more devil's advocate then problem resolution.