To Save Everything, Click Here: Technology, Solutionism and the Urge to Fix Problems That Don't Exist
Penguin, $22.99 pb, 428 pp, 9780241957707
What are the implications of the ever-accelerating revolution in information communication technology on our lives? Is the Internet a force for good, for increased freedom and democracy? Or are we so in thrall to the prophets of Silicon Valley that we have lost sight of the perils that lie in ‘big data’, the extension of algorithms and quantification into every nook and cranny of our lives?
For Evgeny Morozov the prognosis is at best mixed and at worst pretty awful. To Save Everything, Click Here follows more or less directly on from his bestseller The Net Delusion, published in 2011. The hallmarks of that book are still on display here: an astonishing grasp not only of the vast literature that concerns the impact of digital technologies on our lives, but also the canon of political and philosophical work that should make us shudder about where all of this is heading. It also displays that fine sense of the absurdities of everyday life and the frailties ofthe subjects caught in the snare of the ever-rolling bandwagon of technological progress and innovation, that made the first text a must read.
These are books that can be savoured on their own terms as correctives to the wilder flights of techno-fantasy; but they also have a deeper and perhaps darker undertone to them which forms an interesting counterpoint to the fascination with the myriad ways in which digital culture is changing the world around us. Two arguments in particular stand out in terms of Morozov’s contribution to date.