The New Left Review has an excellent in depth interview with Evgeny Morozov called Socialize The Data Centres! Too bad that was the headline they went with, because his argument is more subtle than that, and the article contains so much more. For example, we learn about Morozov’s upbringing in Belarus and his early intellectual development (a major in Business Admin!?). Even better is discussion about his ideological evolution since writing his books. I find this interesting because while he has been working on his PhD at Harvard we have been only getting the occasional opinion piece. I can imagine he is going through a transformation and look forward to the resulting book(s?) at the end. Below are a few choice quotes from the article, however I encourage you to read it in its entirety.
On the problem:
… the encroachment of capital into everyday life by means of Silicon Valley, which I think is probably more consequential than the encroachment of the nsa into our civil liberties.
… we’re in danger of ending up with a kind of idiot history, in which everything starts in Silicon Valley, and there are no other forces or causes.
On the solution:
Right now all we can do is try to articulate some kind of utopian vision of what a non-neoliberal, but technology-friendly, world might look like.
The question is how can we build a system that will actually favour citizens, and perhaps even favour some kind of competition in its search engines. It’s primarily from data and not their algorithms that powerful companies currently derive their advantages, and the only way to curb that power is to take the data completely out of the market realm, so that no company can own them.
Some related links:
- My review of Morozov’s book To Save Everything, Click Here.
- A year ago, I tried to outline his core position based on an article in The New Yorker: Politics over politech