In To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, Evgeny Morozov shares his attitudes, dispositions and urges that comprise the “solutionist mind-set, to show how they manifest themselves in specific projects to ameliorate human condition and to hint at how and why some of these attitudes, dispositions and urges can and should be circumvented, resisted and unlearned. More specifically, technological perfection without “attending to the intricacies of the human condition and accounting for the complex world of practices and traditions, might not be worth the price” (xv).
In the book, Morozov discussed different components when breaking down technology and how people view the Internet in combination with continuous technological advancements. He labeled people as solutionists, or those who thought inefficiency of political and cultural life are issues that could be fixed using technology. Morozov also categorized people as Internet-centrists, or those who thought”the Internet” was a single logic and set of values rather than a variety of different networked technologies. As such, the rest of the world must be reshaped around the Internet.
After reading this book, I thought about how much I relied on the Internet and how much I relied on technology in different apps and platforms to provide me with adequate information throughout the day. Having grown up in the age of dial-up Internet — a digital innovation once upon a time — I have come to rely on the Internet and technology to carry out daily tasks such as checking emails, checking news and sports outlets to stay informed and using social media apps to provide me with the latest information taking place in the community, the state, the nation and the world around me. With fast-speed Internet and cutting edge technology, it almost hard to imagine the world without these “now” everyday necessities.
Taking this in to consideration with Morozov’s book, people and especially those in my generation have become so connected to a world that includes the Internet and all of the pros and cons that come with it. As Morozov argues, there are quite a few of us that shape our thoughts about things in life based on what see, find or how we use the Internet. Whatever problems or issues we face, many of us will look to the Internet for solutions or use technology as a “quick fix” to cover up our issues that we have for the moment.
This is a problem.
Here is why.
Growing up as a child, I think about how my older family members told me to never “put all of my eggs in one basket” when doing or deciding something. Even more, I think about how my family members and close friends always encouraged me to never take the easy way out when accomplishing various tasks. They encouraged me to go the extra mile. Make a path of my own. Build my own destiny and align it with God’s plan.
I say all of that to say this: The Internet and digital innovation alone cannot fix our problems. Hence, we cannot continue to put all of our trust and faith in technology and the outcomes or solutions that the Internet provides us. While social media apps (technology) paint the picture of being social and catering to all of our needs or problems that arise, there are things that exist within our upbringing or culture that play an important role in allowing us to understand the world around us. Technology and the Internet aid in the process of helping us to understand the world but they should not be only components that help us to adequately understand society and more important to keep us informed. By relying solely on the technology and the Internet filled with algorithms, apps and built-in software from the giants in Silicon Valley, we limit ourselves from seeking a broader view on the world that will allow us to make better decisions about the things or issues that matter the most.
Thus, it is important to look beyond the norm. Go against the grain. It is important to look beyond digital innovation and the power of the Internet. “Constructing a world preoccupied only with the most efficient outcomes — rather than with the processes through which those outcomes are achieved — is not likely to make them aware of the depth of human passion, dignity and respect” (345).
Morozov also states another powerful quote that summarizes the importance of looking beyond technology. ” Technologies actively shape our notion of the self; they even define the structure and tempo of our self-experimentation. If we have no choice but to do the right thing always, then our spiritual pasture of our self is to be cultivated shrinks considerably” (344).