Book Review: The Internet is not the answer by Andrew Keen

Technology is the religion of the new age. But contrary to the old generation of religions promising a better world just after death, tech-evangelists promise us a better world just a few steps away and sure before the grave!

As they tell us, there’s only one barrier on the way to the technology paradise: There are still so many disconnected people and societies all around the globe.¬†This is the reason that Zuckerberg, Schmidt, Musk and other leaders of technology, always talk about universal access to the web as one of the fundamental human rights in the digital age.

As a technology-lover but a non-believer in these too-optimistic views, I was never convinced the technology itself can be a liberating tool for human.

I’ve always considered the technology at its best as a new evolutionary tool. Every evolutionary tool will provide us with new possibilities. But as evolution is blind in its nature, it bundles construction and destruction together to find the best way toward the next stage of the development.

With all these pre-assumptions, sure it was delightful for me to see the Andrew Keen‘s new book titled: The Internet Is Not The Answer.

His book could be considered in the category of the other internet critics like Nicholas Carr and Ethan Zuckerman. But reading the book, felt like talking with a traditional left-winger economist.

Internet is not the answer. by Andrew KeenBesides discussing so many facets of the new digital era such as user tracking and data collection and behavioral analysis, the main emphasis of the book is about the effects of this new wave on the current economy. The spirit of the book would remind you of the times when the first robots were installed in the factories and many analysts and futurists were talking about a robotic apocalypse and the future world with no room for the jobless workers.

Yes. As he states many times in his book, an open decentralized technology will not be naturally translated into a less hierarchical or unequal society. But this equal classless society has never been our expectation from the digital technology and the web.

Here’s the main statement of Andrew Keen: The internet is not the answer to our problems. It’s even cause of many of them.

I still like the title of his book: The internet is not the answer. But it’s not even the central question. It’s a tool. It’s a very small mutation for human gene and now as John Perry Barlow says humans are able to experience a real spiritual experience without the necessity of sacrificing their hearts and souls for the old age temples.

Every advancement of the technology, including internet, are just extensions of the hands and minds of the humans and nothing more.

There’s no inherent positive promise or negative consequence in the web or any other technology. Sure there are always extremist ideas about every new tool or technology. Some will try to convince us that we are on the road to hell and some others will promise us the paradise.

But as there is no target point to reach for, every new tool would help our species to adapt itself to the environment better than before and nothing more. Although this adaptation would not be free and painless.