Evgeny Morozov

“Imperfection, ambiguity, opacity, disorder, and the opportunity to err, to sin, to do the wrong thing: all of these are constitutive of human freedom, and any concentrated attempt to root them out will root out that freedom as well. If we don’t find the strength and the courage to escape the silicon mentality that fuels much of the current quest for technological perfection, we risk finding ourselves with a politics devoid of everything that makes politics desirable, with humans who have lost their basic capacity for moral reasoning, with lackluster (if not moribund) cultural institutions that don’t take risks and only care about their financial bottom lines, and, most terrifyingly, with a perfectly controlled social environment that would make dissent not just impossible but possibly even unthinkable.”

“Now, why oppose such striving for perfection? Well, I believe that not everything that could be fixed should be fixed—even if the latest technologies make the fixes easier, cheaper, and harder to resist. Sometimes, imperfect is good enough; sometimes, it’s much better than perfect. What worries me most is that, nowadays, the very availability of cheap and diverse digital fixes tells us what needs fixing. It’s quite simple: the more fixes we have, the more problems we see. And yet, in our political, personal, and public lives—much like in our computer systems—not all bugs are bugs; some bugs are features. Ignorance can be dangerous, but so can omniscience: there is a reason why some colleges stick to need-blind admissions processes. Ambivalence can be counterproductive, but so can certitude: if all your friends really told you what they thought, you might never talk to them again. Efficiency can be useful, but so can inefficiency: if everything were efficient, why would anyone bother to innovate?”

Excerpt From: Morozov, Evgeny. “To Save Everything, Click Here.” PublicAffairs, 2013-01-17. iBooks.

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