What will it take to design socio-technical systems that actually work?
With the current focus on the U.S. as an “innovation economy,” it’s common to read essays predicting the end of a major social problem due to a technical innovation.Bitcoin will end poverty in the developing world by enabling inexpensive money transfers. Wikipedia and One Laptop Per Child will educate the world’s poor without need for teachers or schools. Self driving cars will obviate public transport and reshape American cities.
The writer Evgeny Morozov has offered a sharp and helpful critique to this mode of thinking, which he calls “solutionism.” Solutionism demands that we focus on problems that have “nice and clean technological solution at our disposal.” In his book, To Save Everything, Click Here, Morozov savages ideas like Snow’s, regardless of whether they are meant as thought experiments or serious policy proposals.
Read the full article on the Atlantic