Back in June 2015, Peter Pierce reviewed a book by Andrew Keen called "The Internet is Not the Answer".
According to Keen,
- ''Evangelists" claim that the internet "democratises the good and disrupts the bad ... thereby creating a more open and egalitarian world". Keen does not beg, but demands to differ. He is no Luddite, intent on destroying the machines that are displacing and degrading his labour, but an entrepreneur, well aware of the many boons the internet delivers. However, he asserts that it is "more akin to a negative feedback loop in which we network users are its victims rather than its beneficiaries".
"Rather than generating more jobs, this digital disruption is a principal cause of our structural employment crisis". Here is a system where, because "nothing is ever hidden or forgotten", surveillance society has been brought, almost absent-mindedly, into being, with powers to observe and to gather information beyond anything Jeremy Bentham imagined in his 18th-century plans for a Panopticon.
Keen has particular targets in mind: the job destruction that drives Amazon; Mark Zuckerberg, "the kid who can't communicate", whose Facebook popularised "a bizarre cult of the social"; Instagram, a triumph of "vulgar immodesty", whose "greatest deceit is taking our self-love to its darkest ... economic end".
Peter Pierce, the reviewer adds,
- Given that the internet is "making us more parochial and unworldly" and narcissistic, Keen knows that he a prophet crying out in the wilderness. The more truth he tells to this new power, the less it will wish to know. He has, however, written an outstanding polemic, not only for internet sceptics (below as well as above the age of 60) but also for its credulous users.
With more people (particularly on Hubski that I've noticed) saying they're taking a break from the internet, I'm wondering whether Andrew Keen had a point.
It strikes me that some people are beginning to see the internet as an on/off experience instead of a supplementation to their lives off the internet.
Has the internet created a social bubble where people see a very limited view of the world? Are real life social circles any different?
If the internet is not the answer, can it be changed to become a better answer? If not, is there a better answer?