Digital Solutionism?

Digital Solutionism?

ITo-Save-Everything-Click-Hernteresting review of To Save Everything: Click Here: Technology, Solutionism and the Urge to Fix Problems, a book I’d not come across yet:

Educational technology is also a target for this “solutionism”. Morozov argues: “Digital technologies might be a perfect solution to some problems, but these problems don’t include education…Online resources might help students learn plenty of new facts…but such fact cramming is a far cry from what universities aspire to teach their students.” He recognises – like E.H. Carr argued in the early 1960s – that there is a profound distinction between “facts” and “interpretations”.

The book’s most accurate jab hits its target when discussing “the internet”, a phrase intentionally placed in inverted commas. No, this is not a postmodern affectation transposed from the early 1990s that is so ironic we missed it. In this case, the punctuation-encased “internet” reminds readers of ambiguity. Therefore, derived terms such as “internet freedom” become just as woolly.

Morozov argues for the need to separate the physical network and the ideologies that nest within it. Such messiness in defining the internet (rather than “the internet”) means that concrete discussions about specific hardware, software and technologies are hidden by generalisations. Therefore, appropriate regulatory protocols become impossible to create because – let’s say it together as a family – “you can’t control the internet”. Or – sharpening the soundbite – “you can’t put the genie of the internet back into the bottle of regulation”. Information wants to be free. It is about parents assuming responsibility for their children. You get the idea.

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