big data


The ballyhoo around big data is a perfect example of what Evgeny Morozov would call “solutionism” – the urge to find internet-based solutions to problems that either don’t exist or are only likely to fester under its sticking plaster. Morozov is a relentless dragon-slayer in the puffed-up world of internet punditry: his previous book, The Net Delusion (2011), was a timely corrective to the notion that the internet could prove a game changer in the struggle to overthrow authoritarian regimes. To Save Everything, Click Here broadens this into a full-frontal critique of Silicon Valley verities – the gospel of “radical transparency”, the notion that online collaboration can serve as a template for government, the whole rogue’s gallery of idea salesmen who confuse real innovation with messing about on the internet. Morozov is a fine polemical essayist: glossy TED conferences, for example, are easily batted away as a “Woodstock of the intellectually effete”. He pours scorn on the “fact-checking” slots proliferating in the American media, in which argument and principle too easily give way to a nit-picking pantomime of claim and counter-claim.

more from James Harkin at the FT here.