How optimism ruined the internet


We live in a world of internet optimism. A world in which search engines can make us smarter, social media can make us more social, and information freedom could one day make us more free.

Beyond our rose-tinted glasses, a very different picture has started to emerge. Digital disruption has grown synonymous with job cuts and the decline of industry. Social media has been infiltrated by cynicism and cyberbullying. Crowdsourcing and citizen journalism have given way to groupthink, misinformation and the proliferation of spin. The dream of information freedom has been replaced with a culture of mass surveillance, censorship and the death of privacy online.

And yet, in the face of all this negative change we continue to offer the internet as some sort of solution. Instead of questioning, or even attempting to manage, the integration of these technologies into our lives, a combination of optimism and libertarian rhetoric has helped to intrinsically tie new technologies to the notion of positive change.

Technoutopia sets out to question this vision of progress, asking whether the benefits of technology should elevate it beyond the realms of critical scrutiny. It examines the ways in which technological optimism has been allowed to spread, ultimately asking how we came to live in a Technoutopia.


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