Evgeny Morozov takes a broad critical look at the role of “smart” technologies in our culture in his book To Save Everything, Click Here. Morozov fears that recent advances in silicon valley are leading us to a world full of “technological solutionism”. He questions the effects of technological innovators urge to find internet based solutions to problems.
Morozov argues that relying on technologies to solve the world’s problems will have moral consequences on our culture. He warns that by changing the motivations behind the civic and ethical issues our society faces we will in turn be changing the nature of our behavior.
There is no denying that as a culture we have suddenly adopted this manipulatable version of society that is full of smart interfaces and tracking devices. These digital devices play a huge role in our lives. Morozov investigates the importance of privacy among users through his book and I thought this concept was thought-provoking. As members of a democratic society we are aware of the ways some technological innovations violate our privacy but we choose to ignore the consequences or cost of these breech to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.
Under Morozov’s framework the digital revolution has the power to simplify the complexities of human interaction. Technological innovations have the ability to connect users socially, which has both positive and negative effects on our culture. As Morozov references this aspect of innovation has its consequences because users are now feeling the constraints of peer pressure at all times.
It is evident that our society is pushing towards a technological perfect environment and I agree with Morozov that is it important for us to try and maintain some balance. Today we put too much faith in the tools of technology instead of actively engaging in policy. As users we all consciously accept the new features of the ios7 without really investigating the causes of the innovations—we no longer ask why we just focus on the efficiency of the tool. In the digital age there is less opportunities for reflecting or engaging.
In a way Morozov’s theory can be examined under the two-step flow of communication lens. This theory states that users form their opinions under the influence of opinion leaders who are influenced by mass media. My interpretation of Morozov’s example is that silicon valley has become the opinion leaders of our day. Users mindlessly accept and conform to the agenda that these innovators are setting.
Morozov’s claims that it is the mission of tech CEOs to save the world and although this technological solutionism might aid in solving some of our most controversial issues…the long term effects will prove to be even more substantial and only time will tell how out society will adapt to these changes.