Few people would argue with the wonders of connectivity, communication and access to infinite quantities of information that the Internet has enabled. But our understanding of the digital future is shaped by those who are making it, and they often have a vested commercial interest in a mass audience buying what they offer. If we take off our rose-coloured glasses, we see that the wonder-gadgets and techno-solutionism can become just another way to sell us things and if we’re not the customer, we’re generally the product. The lofty ideals of the early Internet have been hijacked to give every digital touchpoint an illusory benevolence. But the reality is much more ambiguous. The digital future has not been written. We need to avoid utopian complacency and think about our digital lives so we can make sure the Internet lives up to its promise, not its darkest possibilities
Evgeny Morozov is a Belarusian writer and researcher whose commentary on technology has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Economist, and New Scientist. He is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, and most recently, To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism.
Chair: Ann Mossop is Head of Talks & Ideas at Sydney Opera House, and is co-curator of Festival of Dangerous Ideas.