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Showing posts from January, 2011

Net delusions: Are Morozov and Watson's dystopias any good?

First a disclaimer: I have not read the two new books I mention here, and it is unlikely that I ever will. You may see this as ridiculous or as an interesting experiment. The thing is, judging on the media coverage the books have attracted so far, many people have already read them and many more will. I'm talking about two recent examples of what I'm inclined to call the dystopian trend in popular writing about the Internet: Evgeny Morozov's The Net Delusion and Richard Watson'sFuture Minds: How The Digital Age Is Changing Our Minds, Why This Mattersand What We Can Do About It. But before I discuss to them in turn, a short note on the (far too) bright side of things: Utopias.

Historians of the Internet have already started to look back at the 1990s as the decade where cyber utopianism ruled. John Perry Barlow's A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace, for example, is mentioned time and again as the epitome of the many Internet-fuelled hopes of refinding communi…