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To Save Everything, Click Here: Technology, Solutionism, and the Urge to Fix Problems that Don't Exist [Kindle Edition]

Evgeny Morozov
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

To Save Everything, Click Here, the new book by the acclaimed author of The Net Delusion, Evgeny Morozov, is a penetrating look at the shape of society in the digital age, of the direction in which the 21st Century may take us, and of the alternate paths we can still choose



Our society is at a crossroads. Smart technology is transforming our world, making many aspects of our lives more convenient, efficient and - in some cases - fun. Better and cheaper sensors can now be embedded in almost everything, and technologies can log the products we buy and the way we use them. But, argues Evgeny Morozov, technology is having a more profound effect on us: it is changing the way we understand human society.



In the very near future, technological systems will allow us to make large-scale and sophisticated interventions into many more areas of public life. These are the discourses by which we have always defined our civilisation: politics, culture, public debate, morality, humanism. But how will these discourses be affected when we delegate much of the responsibility for them to technology? The temptation of the digital age is to fix everything - from crime to corruption to pollution to obesity - by digitally quantifying, tracking, or gamifiying behaviour. Yet when we change the motivations for our moral, ethical and civic behaviour, do we also change the very nature of that behaviour? Technology, Morozov proposes, can be a force for improvement - but only if we abandon the idea that it is necessarily revolutionary and instead genuinely interrogate why and how we are using it.



From urging us to drop outdated ideas of the internet to showing how to design more humane and democratic technological solutions, To Save Everything, Click Here is about why we should always question the way we use technology.



'A devastating exposé 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



'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 cyberutopian worldview' Economist



'A passionate and heavily researched account of the case against the cyberutopians . . . only by becoming "cyberrealists" can we hope to make humane and effective policy' Bryan Appleyard, New Statesman



'Piercing . . . convincing . . . timely' Financial Times



Evgeny Morozov is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (which was the winner of the 2012 Goldsmith Book Prize) and a contributing editor for The New Republic. Previously, he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University, a Scwhartz fellow at the New America Foundation, a Yahoo fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown, and a fellow at the Open Society Foundations. His monthly column on technology comes out in Slate, Corriere della Sera, El Pais, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and several other newspapers. He's also written for the New York Times, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the London Review of Books.



Product Description

Review

A devastating exposé 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)

About the Author

Evgeny Morozov is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (which was the winner of the 2012 Goldsmith Book Prize) and a contributing editor for The New Republic. Previously, he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University, a Scwhartz fellow at the New America Foundation, a Yahoo fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown, and a fellow at the Open Society Foundations. His monthly column on technology comes out in Slate, Corriere della Sera, El Pais, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and several other newspapers. He's also written for the New York Times, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the London Review of Books.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 821 KB
  • Print Length: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (21 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ADNP310
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,326 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important and very inspiring book... 9 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an important and very inspiring book. Morozov is miles away from shallow technophobia and does not demonize the "Internet" or ubiquitous computing as something necessarily harmful or evil. His point is based on far deeper thinking and more substantial. Morozov discovers flaws in our shared thinking and narratives around the "Internet" (scare quotes intended) and digital cultures with their frequent hypes around social networks, social media, big data, open source, maker culture, crowd sourcing, crowd funding, quantified self, behavior change or whatever the latest and greatest TED talk was about.

As a researcher in Human-Computer Interaction, I am partially to blame for contributing to the internet-centrism and solutionism that Morozov criticizes in a sometimes polemic but always in an incisive and very entertaining manner. At times I could not help laughing out loud when he again brilliantly takes apart the shared thinking and rhetoric of IT researchers, consultants, and "visionaries" - and this although his dry humor in writing has not spared the things that I truly belief in, work on, and have preached myself. Therefore, even if I do not agree with Morozov in every point, his sharp analysis of so many (actually a bit too many...) examples and cases have left a deep impression on me.

Morozov highlights how we happily and almost religiously apply concepts that we believe are inherent values of the "Internet" (e.g. openness, direct participation, crowd sourcing, wisdom of the crowd, efficient architectures) on society, economy, and politics. Often this happens based on a non-existing or only shallow knowledge of the wealth of pre-internet experiences and practices.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I agree with Evgeny Morozov that a never-ending quest to ameliorate, what Tania Murray Li characterizes as "the will to improve," has created problems whose disruptive and (yes) destructive impact has been exacerbated by various technologies. Morozov calls this pathology "solutionism." In Chapter One, he observes, "It's not only that many problems are not suited to the quick-and-easy solutionist tool kit. It'd also that what many solutionists presume to be 'problems' in need of solving are not problems at all; a deeper investigation into the very nature of these 'problems' would reveal that the inefficiency, ambiguity, and opacity -- whether in politics or everyday life -- that the newly empowered geeks and solutionists are rallying against are not in any sense problematic. Quite the opposite: these vices are often virtues in disguise. That, thanks to innovative technologies, the modern-day solutionist has an easy way to eliminate them does not make them any less virtuous."

Morozov probably knew that this book would generate a great deal of controversy, and it has because he almost gleefully challenges the assumptions and conclusions of what James O'Toole (in Leading Change) characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny if custom." "On the odd chance that this book succeeds, its great contribution to the public debate might lie in the redrawing the front lines of the intellectual battles about digital technologies."

Morozov seems to divide Internet thinkers (or at least those claim to have thought about it) into two groups.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it for the fight 3 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Morozov is combative, and seems to take a great deal of pleasure in dismantling the arguments of the cyber-utopians. Whether he succeeds will depend on whom he's attacking in a particular passage, but I'd give him serious credit for trying it, and for being persistent.

I share his sentiments on the whole, and found some of the rhetorical quirks he adopts amusing and helpful -- things as simple as constantly putting "the Internet" in scare quotes, to dismantle the idea we tend to have of the Net as a unified, magical thing.

I'd argue that whatever you might think of his style or his book, it will be difficult to resent his having done it (twice, now, as The Net Delusion was similar) and stuck to his guns. More serious discussion concerning the internet would be welcome at the "very public" level. Sure, there are plenty of serious discussions about the internet, but the bestsellers are often those that seem to validate as wonderful whatever's already happening anyway. It may be wonderful -- but a critical voice, even a gadfly's voice, is great. And Morozov is frequently charming about how little he gives a damn.

--
Phil Jourdan, author of "Praise of Motherhood" and "What Precision, Such Restraint"
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By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading Evgeny Morozov's book is rather a rollercoaster ride as it swings from well-made criticisms of internet zealots through to arguments with large holes and contentious assumptions.

Given part of Mozorov's argument is that people are too ready to accept at face value self-confident statements about how the internet is and the world must adjust to it, this rollercoaster does at least achieve his aim of keeping readers on their toes.

If you read more than a handful of pages and don't find yourself swinging between agreeing, disagreeing and back again then the chances are you've not read those pages closely enough.

Mozorov is at his best when attacking how some "internet" values, such as transparency, are idolised - as if a technological context somehow magics away all those occasions when transparency runs up against other factors, such as discretion or forgetting, which also have value.

He is also good on how 'understanding the internet' is often used as a misleading synonym for 'you must apply these different, contentious values' such as when people demanding that politics adapts to the internet slip in a definition of 'adapting to the internet' which means 'adopting direct democracy'. Direct democracy has both its pros and cons, but it's not an absolute, unquestioned and inevitable good in the way many internet democracy enthusiasts present it when dressed up in demands that politicians embrace technology. You don't have to be a luddite to doubt that direct democracy is the right model to adopt - and as Mozorov points out, a true understanding of how the internet is impacting politics means understanding that it can support a multitude of different political models.
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