More Morozov

Following up on yesterday’s post on the work of Evgeny Morozov, in his most recent book To Save Everything, Click Here the writer digs deeper in some of the concepts discussed in the Die Zeit-column. The main criticism however, is another: what Morozov calls “solutionism” – the obsession that technology can solve society’s problem. This is often focused on specific solutions, rather than analysing the problem itself. In part, this solutionism takes metaphysical proportions like when Google launches a start-up to fix the problem of mortality. In a different way, the solutions may create new problems that can be far worse than the original problem. Morozov’s example is a cooking technology that monitors the chef’s moves and alerts to deviations from the recipe and pre-defined procedures. This clinical take on cooking might take away a big part of the joy and creativity (yes, innovation) in preparing food and the use of monitor technology can invite malign interests into our kitchens. Another example could be the hype around e-health, which has a promise to make healthcare more efficient but raises questions about responsibility, patient-doctor-confidentiality and the importance of human interaction for recovery.

This video (a couple of years old, granted, but still worth a view) gives a good and beautifully animated introduction to Morozov and his criticism of techno-utopianism (the idea that technology is the ultimate answer to all of mankind’s problems).

Also, do read Morozov’s critique of Jaron Lanier’s most recent book Who Owns the Future?. Two of Netopia’s favourite thinkers clashing in a both enlightening and entertaining way.