losing faith in the internet god

1383858953rsz_9172738462_f2ff393ca2_cGeoff Shullenberger at Dissent:

According to two recent books, many people today believe in the Internet the way that the denizens of the Age of Faith believed in God, or that many on the left once believed in Marxism: as the exclusive source of universal personal and political salvation and the basic organizing principle of history. Varieties of this twenty-first century faith can be found in the most disparate places. While the geek elite of Silicon Valley are its natural constituency, other converts include young Egyptians who took part in the 2011 uprising, free-market libertarians, members of the Obama administration, “hacktivists,” open government activists, and a growing tribe of calorie-counting “self-trackers.”

Evgeny Morozov and Jaron Lanier are themselves lapsed true believers in the Internet gospel, though Morozov tells us he was only “one of those people . . . very briefly,” whereas Silicon Valley insider Lanier was a seminal figure in developing some of the technologies and ideologies he now criticizes. Both assert that the widespread and quasi-messianic enthusiasm for the Internet underwrites a technocratic agenda inimical to the survival of democracy.

more here.