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I read To Save Everything, Click Here by Evgeny Morozov around

Review: ★★★★★

This book was transformative. As a person who makes my living building solutions to problems, it was particularly challenging, and refined how I think about the products I produce. Evgeny provides insightful critiques to some of the most ubiquitously accepted assumptions of our time.

The two pedals of this assumption bicycle are “The Internet” and solutionism. Highlighting the religious fervor that worshippers have for “the Internet” underpins many of the arguments, and I think this observation is astute. “The Internet” is beyond questioning. “The Internet” has intrinsic qualities that are unchanging, and must be appealed to. If you asked a theologian, it sounds like many of the tenants of Christian doctrine.

If I were to offer one concern to Evgeny’s approach, it’s that most arguments are made from analogy, which always has it’s limits when fully exhausted. I think this approach resonates heavily with me, because I am far too quick to present arguments by way of analogy. And as I derived from one point in this book, abstractions are attractive because they make problems easier to understand by masking them in a more understood problem… but the nuance is lost when you appeal to an abstraction.

Quotes:

The more fixes we have, the more problems we see.

The overriding question, ‘What might we build tomorrow?’ blinds us to questions of our ongoing responsibilities for what we built yesterday

Here is modernity in a nutshell: We are left with possibly better food but without the joy of cooking

it’s not a revolution if nobody loses

“We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it.” [Shirky] argues, “It is too early to tell whether the Internet’s effect on media will be as radical as that of the printing press. It is not too early to tell that there is nothing that happened between 1450 and now that comes close.”

Does “open government” refer to making train schedules and city maps more accessible? Or does it refer to publishing data that could embarrass politicians and end careers?

Boredom with established truths is the great enemy of the free man.

to put it bluntly, it’s never been cheaper to ac on one’s stupidity.

[Digital Rights Management] schemes lead to a kind of “moral disability,” whereby humans put morality on autopilot and no longer cultivate any disposition for honesty. Thus, notes Kerr “digital locks would ensure particular outcomes for property owners but would do so at the expense of the moral project of honesty.”

Focusing on calories—just because they are the easiest to count—is a somewhat defective way to think about nutrition and might even lead to dieting disorders.


Details

Title
To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism
Author
Evgeny Morozov
ISBN
9781610391382 (find it on Bookshop, IndieBound, WorldCat, or Open Library)