Thursday, February 5, 2015

#36 / Solutionism Runs Amok

Another book I haven't read! But such a great title: To Save Everything, Click Here! The author of this book is Evgeny Morozov, and the subtitle of his book is what really attracted me: "The Folly of Technological Solutionism."

"Solutionism" is quite a word, in and of itself. I didn't find it in the OED, but there is a definition, available online, in the Wiktionary

solutionism (uncountable) 
The belief that all difficulties have benign solutions, often of a technocratic nature. 
The providing of a solution or solutions to a customer or client.

Morozov is particularly contemptuous of Bin Cam (see Chapter One, Page 1). Bin Cam is a technological system that is supposed to shame us into being better recyclers. Many readers of this Two Worlds blog access the blog on my Facebook page, and those who regularly peruse Facebook well know how often we Facebook users get to see what others are eating. With Bin Cam, we can immediately see what others are NOT eating. In fact, we get up to the minute postings of what they are throwing in the garbage. 

For my part (and this is a parenthetical observation), I think I would prefer to see what my friends are throwing in the garbage instead of receiving video bulletins about what their cats have been up to, but that's just me! Bin Cam, like other technological "fixes," may promise more than it can deliver. 

So, I agree with Morozov about Bin Cam, but I think he makes a more fundamental point. "Technology" cannot "save us," period. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (pictured above) are not going to be superseded. 

I have already commented on the inefficacy of "click to act" strategies in the political arena. The same thing is true more generally.

Technology isn't going to save the world.

We are.

At least we'd better!

Our lives depend on it.

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1 comment:

  1. The solutions we come up with should include technology when it's useful.


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