53 Quotes of Evgeny Morozov About Technology

” You know, anyone who wears glasses, in one sense or another, is a cyborg. “
” Information technology has been one of the leading drivers of globalization, and it may also become one of its major victims. “
” We’ve never thought too deeply about the roles things like forgetting or partisanship or inefficiency or ambiguity or hypocrisy play in our political or social life. It’s been impossible to get rid of them, so we took them for granted, and we kind of thought, naively, that they’re always the enemy. “
” Steve Jobs was notoriously blunt about products he found wanting, but his attack on Flash – Adobe’s popular technology for playing multimedia content inside a browser – was particularly vicious. Claiming it was buggy and insecure, Jobs banned it from the iPad. “
” WikiLeaks is what happens when the entire U.S. government is forced to go through a full-body scanner. “
” I have no problem with technological solutions to social problems. The key question for me is, ‘Who gets to implement them?’ and, ‘What kinds of politics of reform do technological solutions smuggle through the back door?’ “
” To understand the limits and opportunities of algorithms in the context of artistic creation, we need to understand that the latter usually consists of three elements: discovery, production, and recommendation. “
” Creative experimentation propels our culture forward. That our stories of innovation tend to glorify the breakthroughs and edit out all the experimental mistakes doesn’t mean that mistakes play a trivial role. As any artist or scientist knows, without some protected, even sacred space for mistakes, innovation would cease. “
” If you use your smart toothbrush, the data can be immediately sent to your dentist and your insurance company, but it also allows someone from the NSA to know what was in your mouth three weeks ago. “
” Whether greater cybersecurity requires a greater sacrifice of our digital freedoms is an important debate that we should be having, preferably with all the facts in front of us. “
” Whether greater cybersecurity requires a greater sacrifice of our digital freedoms is an important debate that we should be having, preferably with all the facts in front of us. “
” Cloud computing is a great euphemism for centralization of computer services under one server. “
” Personalization can be very useful in some contexts but very harmful in others. Searching for pizza online, it’s probably OK to keep showing the same pizza shop as your No. 1 choice. I don’t see any big political consequences out of that. “
” If you trace the history of mankind, our evolution has been mediated by technology, and without technology it’s not really obvious where we would be. So I think we have always been cyborgs in this sense. “
” Faster roads are not always safer roads – and virtually all societies, democratic or authoritarian, prefer safety over speed, even if many of their citizens enjoy fast driving. “
” Calling China’s online censorship system a ‘Great Firewall’ is increasingly trendy, but misleading. All walls, being the creation of engineers, can be breached with the right tools. “
” This marketization of personal information is a big mistake. “
” Technology changes all the time; human nature, hardly ever. “
” ‘Solutionism’ for me is, above all, an unthinking pursuit of perfection – by means of technology – without coming to grips with the fact that imperfection is an essential feature of liberal democracy. “
” The director of the FBI has been visiting Silicon Valley companies asking them to build back doors so that it can spy on what is being said online. The Department of Commerce is going after piracy. At home, the American government wants anything but Internet freedom. “
” My hunch is that people often affiliate with causes online for selfish and narcissistic purposes. Sometimes, it may be as simple as trying to impress their online friends, and once you have fashioned that identity, there is very little reason to actually do anything else. “
” Most other documents leaked to WikiLeaks do not carry the same explosive potential as candid cables written by American diplomats. “
” However revolutionary it may be, the Internet still hasn’t altered the basic law of human communication: Being nice to your interlocutors is a good way to start any negotiations, particularly, when being hostile is an open invitation for a cyber-fight. “
” Diplomacy is, perhaps, one element of the U.S. government that should not be subject to the demands of ‘open government’; whenever it works, it is usually because it is done behind closed doors. But this may be increasingly hard to achieve in the age of Twittering bureaucrats. “
” Look at something like cooking. Now, you would hear a lot about smart kitchens and augmented kitchens. And what do those smart kitchens actually do? They police what’s happening inside the kitchen. They have cameras that distinguish ingredients one from each other and that tell you that shouldn’t mix this ingredient with another ingredient. “
” As economic life relies more and more on the Internet, the potential for small bands of hackers to launch devastating attacks on the world economy is growing. “
” Dictators aren’t stupid, or regimes could be toppled easily by young people mobilizing on Facebook. “
” One possible future for WikiLeaks is to morph into a gigantic media intermediary – perhaps, even something of a clearing house for investigative reporting – where even low-level leaks would be matched with the appropriate journalists to pursue and report on them and, perhaps, even with appropriate NGOs to advocate on their causes. “
” A vibrant civil society can challenge those in power by documenting corruption or uncovering activities like the murder of political enemies. In democracies, this function is mostly performed by the media, NGOs or opposition parties. “
” Search without Google is like social networking without Facebook: unimaginable. “
” Social media’s greatest assets – anonymity, ‘virality,’ interconnectedness – are also its main weaknesses. “
” Surveillance cameras might reduce crime – even though the evidence here is mixed – but no studies show that they result in greater happiness of everyone involved. “
” The bigger the network, the harder it is to leave. Many users find it too daunting to start afresh on a new site, so they quietly consent to Facebook’s privacy bullying. “
” When someone at the State Department proclaims Facebook to be the most organic tool for promoting democracy the world has ever seen – that’s a direct quote – it may help in the short run by getting more people onto Facebook by making it more popular with dissidents. “
” The message I’m trying to send is that technology is political, and that many decisions that look like decisions about technology actually are not at all about technology – they are about politics, and they need to be scrutinized as closely as we would scrutinize decisions about politics. “
” When it is about technology, there is this tendency to just reject all criticism as being anti-technological and anti-modern. I think this is very unhealthy. “
” I went to SXSW in 2011. God, that was awful. I mean, I only went because my publisher wanted me to promote the book and the organizers invited me and it seemed silly not to go, especially for a relatively unknown first-time author. This is just not my cup of tea; the fewer such events I do on an annual basis, the happier I feel. “
” I’m rarely invited to start-up parties, but who cares about their trinkets and apps anyway? “
” I spent two years in Palo Alto – what an awful, suffocating place for those of us who don’t care about yoga, yogurts and start-ups – and now I have moved to Cambridge, MA – which, in many respects, is like Palo Alto but a bit snarkier. “
” The reason why there is more pessimism about technology in Europe has to do with history, the use of databases to keep track of people in the camps, ecological disasters. “
” A lot of the geeks in Silicon Valley will tell you they no longer believe in the ability of policymakers in Washington to accomplish anything. They don’t understand why people end up in politics; they would do much more good for the world if they worked at Google or Facebook. “
” There is this absurd assumption that the revitalisation of the public sphere is always a good thing. I think people tend to confuse ‘civic’ and ‘civil,’ and they believe that everything that is done by citizens is necessarily a good thing because you build a network, an association. “
” The Internet can empower groups whose aims are in fact antithetical to democracy. “
” You know, it’s not a given that there is an ‘online’ and ‘offline’ world out there. When you use the telephone, you don’t say that I’m entering some ‘telephono-sphere.’ You don’t say that, and there is no obvious need to say that when you are using a modem. “
” I’m not on Facebook. I have a sort of anonymous account that I check, like, once every six months every time Facebook rolls out a new feature. “
” The idea that the Internet favors the oppressed rather than the oppressor is marred by what I call cyber-utopianism: a naive belief in the emancipatory nature of online communication that rests on a stubborn refusal to admit its downside. “
” It is true that authoritarian governments increasingly see the Internet as a threat in part because they see the U.S. government behind the Internet. “
” Russian young people spend countless hours online downloading videos and having a very nice digital entertainment lifestyle, which does not necessarily turn them into the next Che Guevara. “
” For many oppositional movements, the Internet, while providing the opportunity to distribute information more quickly and cheaper, may have actually made their struggle more difficult in the long run. “
” Revolution may not be pro-Western or democratic. “
” I don’t think love for technology itself breeds change. “
” I’m active on Twitter, and I love my iPad and my Kindle. “
” When we can commit a crime, we can also trigger debate. Cases go to courts. Media start covering the cases. But once you build smart environments where, if you meet a certain probabilistic profile, you won’t even be allowed to board a bus, let alone commit a crime, we’re perpetuating existing laws so they face no challenges or revision. “