Excellent way to spend 11 minutes. Does the internet actually inhibit, not encourage democracy?
In the following RSA Animate, Evgeny Morozov presents an alternative take on ‘cyber-utopianism’ - the seductive idea that the internet plays a largely emancipatory role in global politics.
Exposing some idealistic myths about freedom and technology (during Iran’s ‘twitter revolution’ fewer than 20,000 Twitter users actually took part), Morozov argues for some realism about the actual uses and abuses of the internet.
One of the theories that Morosov explores and counters is “iPod liberalism” : the belief that people who have iPods or any other sort of western technology, will also be likely to support western values and western democracy. However, Morosov goes on to explain that theories such as “Drop iPods, not bombs” actually confuse the intended versus actual use of technology.
Rather than enable democracy, technology could in fact be a barrier to democracy. For example, blogs, Twitter and Facebook actually allowed the Iranian authorities to gather open-source intelligence on networks of anti-goverment activists. KGB agents used to torture people for weeks to get the level of information and intelligence that is now openly shared on the internet.
Furthermore, rather than being a catalyst for change, technology, the web and social media can also be used as an opiate for the masses; creating the illusion of citizens having a voice when in fact it is nothing more than meaningless chatter.
A very engaging animation which clearly explains some of the complex thoughts explored by Morosov.