The Dream of Electric Sheep

Ryan Kemp in The Hedgehog Review:

We’ve got the Internet all wrong. Its raison d’être is not, as Mark Zuckerberg claims for his own corporation, to “strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together.” To the contrary, the Internet is a pernicious disease. It is—as Justin E.H. Smith argues in his new book, The Internet Is Not What You Think It Is—thoroughly “anti-human.”

The problem is straightforward: The Internet as we know and use it in our daily lives (the realm of Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.) significantly limits our capacity for freedom in all the various and complex senses of the term. We might think about the proliferation of action-constraining algorithms and ubiquitous surveillance. Smith, a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris, admits that these things undermine our well-being, but he focuses instead on the so-called crisis of attention: the idea that the Internet is ferociously adept at cultivating distraction.

More here.