Study Up For 'Think': Silicon Valley Detractor Faces 'Nerd Rage'
Evgeny Morozov isn't just annoyed with how much we're texting and checking our email in public. He actually believes that our reliance on technology is hurting chances to achieve true freedom and democracy. The author of To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism joins Think host Krys Boyd at noon.
Morozov tells Gawker's Adrian Chen about his "solutionism" philosophy. The term he says, means "the "unthinking pursuit of perfection—by means of technology—without coming to grips with the fact that imperfection is an essential feature of liberal democracy."
Chen, who writes for one of the most immediate, meme-aware outlets around, anticipates the backlash to Morozov's gall. An excerpt:
So some challenges need to be tackled at the level of policy. Well, at SXSW this year, Alexis Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit and a vocal champion of a "free and open internet" declared that "we need more nerds in congress." That sounds like your worst nightmare. Could a congress filled with geeks actually be worse than the businesspeople and career politicians we have now?
EM: Here much depends on what actually is meant by "nerds." If by "nerds," we mean "experts about technology or engineering," then the question really is: Do we need more elected representatives who are not lawyers but actual field experts in, say, medicine or engineering or neuroscience for that matter? I'm sure someone has done studies on it. I'm not sure computer engineers are less of automatons than US-trained lawyers at this point. But "nerds in Congress" can also mean something else: a bunch of amateurs who think they can fix politics with spreadsheets or, worse, instant messaging. Those guys I don't trust. Look at the Pirate Party in Germany: the moment they got into parliament (or, more precisely, local parliaments), the German public figured out that having "nerds in parliament" might not be such a great idea: not only do they wear shorts to legislative sessions but they also don't have a very good political program beyond just "defending the Internet." In that latter case, I'm far less excited by the prospect of sending more nerds to Congress. Let's better send them to Burning Man.
Read the full interview with heated reader questions at end here.
Listen to Think from noon to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, on KERA 90.1. You can stream the show at kera.org.