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book review

Evgeny Morozov

Evgeny Morozov is Not Impressed

In To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism Evgeny Morozov rails against two ideologies he labels “Internet-centrisim” and “solutionism” which he defines, respectively, as the belief that the Internet should be used to explain the world and the belief that the world needs fixing. His opposition to Internet-centrism makes him a critic of not only technology advocates like Jeff Jarvis but also detractors like Nicholas Carr. His opposition to solutionism makes him a critic of everyone else.

In particular, Morozov’s directs his disgust at those who he thinks combine these two ideologies to blindly use the Internet as a model for solving societal problems. This makes popular books like Wikinomics, What Would Google Do? and Here Comes Everybody primary targets. To use an analogy, if the Internet is a hammer, he thinks people are obsessively debating which issue should be the next nail, rather than asking the more important questions of “should we be using this hammer?” and “why are we even hammering?”

To be sure, hype over technology can be taken too far: the Internet will not single-handedly cure cancer, eliminate poverty, and end

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Book Review of “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think”

There have been a number of attempts to chronicle exactly what is “big data” and why anyone should care.  Last year’s The Human Face of Big Data by Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt focused on telling the personal stories behind big data (and accompanied these stories with some great photographs). The year before, James Gleick wrote The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood which chronicled how information (and not just big data) has changed our world. The latest entrant is Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier which focuses heavily on explaining some of the more interesting impacts of living in a big data world. (Personally, I’m still not a fan of the term big data because 1) the term scares off people who think this is equivalent to “Big Oil” and 2) the term underrepresents the innovation happening around “small” data. But since this is the term used in the book, I’ll stick with it for this review.)

The first part of this book provides a fairly compelling vision of how big data is changing how

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