Evgeny Morozov

Evgeny
Morozov
1984

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

Very often self-tracking solutions are marketed as ways to address a problem. You can monitor how many calories you consume; monitor how much electricity you are consuming. It sounds nice in theory but I fear a lot of policymakers prefer to use the self-tracking option as an alternative to regulating the food industry or engaging in more structural reforms when it comes to climate change. All solutions come with cost. Shifting a lot of the responsibility to the individual is a very conservative approach that seeks to preserve the current system instead of reforming it. With self-tracking we end up optimising our behaviour within the existing constraints rather than changing the constraints to begin with. It places us as consumers rather than citizens. My fear is policymakers will increasingly find that it is much easier, cheaper and sexier to invite the likes of Google to engage in some of this problem-solving rather than do something that is much more ambitious and radical.

Although virtually limitless in their power, our technologies are tools without handles.

Faster roads are not always safer roads - and virtually all societies, democratic or authoritarian, prefer safety over speed, even if many of their citizens enjoy fast driving.

I worry that as the problem-solving power of our technologies increases, our ability to distinguish between important and trivial or even non-existent problems diminishes.

In Google's world, public space is just something that stands between your house and the well-reviewed restaurant that you are dying to get to.

Making loans accessible to millions of the previously unbankable customers is a noble goal. Getting them hooked to such loans isn't.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, funded in part by the Chinese government, have managed to build surveillance software that can automatically annotate and comment on what it sees, generating text files that can later be searched by humans, obviating the need to watch hours of video footage in search of one particular frame. (To make that possible, the researchers had to recruit twenty graduates of local art colleges in China to annotate and classify a library of more than two million images.) Such automation systems help surveillance to achieve the much needed scale, for as long as the content produced by surveillance cameras can be indexed and searched, one can continue installing new surveillance cameras.

The Egyptian experience suggests that social media can greatly accelerate the death of already dying authoritarian regimes.

There are good reasons why we don't want everyone to learn nuclear physics, medicine or how financial markets work. Our entire modern project has been about delegating power over us to skilled people who want to do the work and be rewarded accordingly.

We can now with Google Glasses record everything around us, and we can make sure that nothing is ever forgotten because everything is stored somewhere in Google servers or somewhere else.

Amnesia and complete indifference to history (especially the history of technological amnesia) remain the defining features of contemporary Internet debate.

For all its shortcomings, Wikipedia does have strong governance and deliberative mechanisms; anyone who has ever followed discussions on Wikipedia's mailing lists will confirm that its moderators and administrators openly discuss controversial issues on a regular basis.

If Amazon?s dream of a world without gatekeepers becomes reality, then the company itself will become a powerful gatekeeper.

In India, recent digitization of land records and their subsequent publication online, while nominally an effort to empower the weak, may have actually empowered the rich and powerful. Once the digitized records were available for the whole world to see, some enterprising businessmen discovered that many poor families had no documents to prove ownership of land. In most cases, this was not the result of some nefarious land grab; local culture, with its predominantly oral ways of doing business, pervasive corruption, and poor literacy, partly explains why no such records exist...

Military commanders do not want to be tried for war crimes, even if those crimes are committed online.

Revolution may not be pro-Western or democratic.

The face-recognition industry is so lucrative that even giants like Google can?t resist getting into the game, feeling the growing pressure from smaller players like Face.com, a popular tool that allows users to find and automatically annotate unique faces that appear throughout their photo collections. In 2009 Face.com launched a Facebook application that first asks users to identify a Facebook friend of theirs in a photo and then proceeds to search the social networking site for other pictures in which that friend appears. By eary 2010, the company boasted of scanning 9 billion pictures and identifying 52 million individuals. This is the kind of productivity that would make the KGB envious.

There are many problems I have with TED. It has created this infrastructure where it very easy to be interesting without being very deep. If TED exercised their curatorial powers responsibly they would be able to separate the good interesting from the bad interesting, but my fear is they don't care as long as it drives eyeballs to the website. They don't align themselves with the thinkers, they align themselves with marketing, advertising, futurist crowd who are interested in ideas for the sake of ideas. They don't care how these ideas relate to each other and they don't much care for what those ideas actually mean. TED has come to exercise lots of power but they don't exercise it wisely.

We need to start seeing privacy as a commons - as some kind of a public good that can get depleted as too many people treat it carelessly or abandon it too eagerly. What is privacy for? This question needs an urgent answer.

Apple has an opening to say, 'The tools we are selling to you will enable you to do things rather than do things for you.' Google's vision is tools that will do things for you.

For many oppositional movements, the Internet, while providing the opportunity to distribute information more quickly and cheaper, may have actually made their struggle more difficult in the long run.

If China's expansion into Africa and Russia's into Latin America and the former Soviet Union are any indication, Silicon Valley's ability to expand globally will be severely limited, if only because Beijing and Moscow have no qualms about blending politics and business.

In part, slacktivism is what happens when the energy of otherwise dedicated activists is wasted on approaches that are less effective than the alternatives.

Mobile phones are one of the most insecure devices that were ever available, so they're very easy to trace; they're very easy to tap.

Russian young people spend countless hours online downloading videos and having a very nice digital entertainment lifestyle, which does not necessarily turn them into the next Che Guevara.

Author Picture
First Name
Evgeny
Last Name
Morozov
Birth Date
1984
Bio

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