Evgeny Morozov


Belarus-born American, Fellow at the New America Foundation, Editor and Blogger for Foreign Policy Magazine, Writer and Researcher who studies Political and Social Implications of Technology

Author Quotes

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist, in his typical fashion, trivialized?and did much to popularize?the dictator?s dilemma fallacy by coining a new buzzword: Microchip Immune Deficiency Syndrome (MIDS).

WikiLeaks is what happens when the entire U.S. government is forced to go through a full-body scanner.

A faithful lifehacker would use technology to avoid dead time and move on to the entertaining, more gratifying activities as soon as possible.

Contrary to the utopian rhetoric of social media enthusiasts, the Internet often makes the jump from deliberation to participation even more difficult, thwarting collective action under the heavy pressure of never-ending internal debate.

I spent two years in Palo Alto - what an awful, suffocating place for those of us who don't care about yoga, yogurts and start-ups - and now I have moved to Cambridge, MA - which, in many respects, is like Palo Alto but a bit snarkier.

I'm rarely invited to start-up parties, but who cares about their trinkets and apps anyway?

It's just an immense shrinking of intellectual imagination to use computing metaphors. I'm just appalled. The idea that we need to take everything in our own hands as citizens, make our institutions hackable ? this is just ridiculous. You don't need to do it by yourself you delegate it to someone who will argue in parliament on your behalf ? that's what we've struggled so hard to accomplish. Now we want to completely undo that system because "hey, we have the tools, we have the technology to allow people to connect to each other". That philosophy doesn't make sense, there is no way you can learn how to program and be responsible for everything in your life and still have a fulfilling life.

One possible future for WikiLeaks is to morph into a gigantic media intermediary - perhaps, even something of a clearing house for investigative reporting - where even low-level leaks would be matched with the appropriate journalists to pursue and report on them and, perhaps, even with appropriate NGOs to advocate on their causes.

Technology changes all the time; human nature, hardly ever.

The Pirates' most advanced and widely discussed technological innovation is an online system called LiquidFeedback, which allows the party to better understand what its members think about issues of the day. Here is how it works: Any member of the party can register (with the optino of using a pseudonym) with LiquidFeedback and propose that the Pirates should do x. If more than 10 percent of other members find this proposal intriguing, it passes to the next stage, in which party members can vote for or against it.

To fully absorb the lessons of the Internet, urge the Internet-centrists, we need to reshape our political and social institutions in its image.

Would you like all of your Facebook friends to sift through your trash? A group of designers from Britain and Germany think that you might. Meet BinCam: a 'smart' trash bin that aims to revolutionize the recycling process.

A lot of the geeks in Silicon Valley will tell you they no longer believe in the ability of policymakers in Washington to accomplish anything. They don't understand why people end up in politics; they would do much more good for the world if they worked at Google or Facebook.

Cyberattacks have become a permanent fixture on the international scene because they have become easy and cheap to launch. Basic computer literacy and a modest budget can go a long way toward invading a country's cyberspace.

I think governments will increasingly be tempted to rely on Silicon Valley to solve problems like obesity or climate change because Silicon Valley runs the information infrastructure through which we consume information.

In 2009 millions of customers of the state-controlled China Mobile, who perhaps were not feeling patriotic enough on the country?s National Day, woke up to discover that the company replaced their usual ringback tone with a patriotic tune sang by the popular actor Jackie Chan and a female actress? These days even the website of China?s Defense Ministry has a section with music downloads; one can enjoy jingoistic music all one wants.

It's true that virtually all new technologies do trigger what sociologists would call 'moral panics,' that there are a lot of people who are concerned with the possible political and social consequences, and that this has been true throughout the ages.

One would think that by the second decade of the twenty-first century, the intellectual poverty of technocracy and the primacy of politics over it would be a well-established truth in need of no further defense.

The bigger the network, the harder it is to leave. Many users find it too daunting to start afresh on a new site, so they quietly consent to Facebook's privacy bullying.

The point here, as with most open-government schemes, is not that information shouldn't be collected or distributed; rather, it needs to be collected and distributed in full awareness of the social and cultural complexity of the institutional environment in which it is gathered.?

To understand the limits and opportunities of algorithms in the context of artistic creation, we need to understand that the latter usually consists of three elements: discovery, production, and recommendation.

You actually see liberals checking 'Fox News,' if only to know what the conservatives are thinking. And you're seeing conservatives who venture into liberal sources, just to know what 'The New York Times' is thinking.

A lot of these devices seek to reward or punish in social currency. For instance, people from Silicon Valley say one way to improve voter turnout is to give people points for checking in with their smartphones at the voting booths ? it might even work, people will show up because you show them coupons, but it risks recasting politics in a way that would make any further appeals to ethical behaviour impossible, once you use the language of coupons you need to talk to people in that language in all walks of life, whether it be picking up litter or turning off the lights. Do you want people to turn off the lights because they will get a coupon or because they have some ethical, environmental concerns? You don't hear people in Silicon Valley talk about the ethical and moral dimension. They are not concerned with anything like citizenship at all.

Cybercriminals are usually driven by profit, while cyberterrorists are driven by ideology.

I used to work for an NGO called Transitions Online, and I was their Director of New Media. I was a very idealistic fellow who thought that he could use blogs, social networks and new media to help promote democracy, human rights and freedom of expression.

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Belarus-born American, Fellow at the New America Foundation, Editor and Blogger for Foreign Policy Magazine, Writer and Researcher who studies Political and Social Implications of Technology