Veröffentlicht: 11.11.2013, 12:55 Uhr

The Internet Ideology Why We Are Allowed to Hate Silicon Valley

It knows how to talk about tools but is barely capable of talking about social, political, and economic systems that these tools enable and disable, amplify and pacify. Why the “digital debate” leads us astray.

von Evgeny Morozov
© Google Earth The world according to Google: This is how Google Earth looks at Silicon Valley

If Ronald Reagan was the first Teflon President, then Silicon Valley is the first Teflon Industry:  no matter how much dirt one throws at it, nothing seems to stick. While “Big Pharma,” “Big Food” and “Big Oil” are derogatory terms used to describe the greediness that reigns supreme in those industries, this is not the case with “Big Data.” This innocent term is never used to refer to the shared agendas of technology companies.  What shared agendas? Aren’t these guys simply improving the world, one line of code at a time?

(Deutsche Fassung: Warum man das Silicon Valley hassen darf)

Something odd is going on here. While we understand that the interests of pharmaceutical, food and oil companies naturally diverge from our own, we rarely approach Silicon Valley with the requisite suspicion. Instead, we continue to treat data as if it were a special, magical commodity that could single-handedly defend itself against any evil genius who dares to exploit it.

Earlier this year, a tiny scratch appeared on the rhetorical Teflon of Silicon Valley. The Snowden affair helped – but so did other events. The world seems to have finally realized that “disruption” – the favorite word of the digital elites –describes a rather ugly, painful phenomenon. Thus, university professors are finally complaining about the “disruption” brought on by the massive open online courses (MOOCs); taxi drivers are finally fighting services like Uber; residents of San Francisco are finally bemoaning the “disruption” of monthly rents in a city that has suddenly been invaded by millionaires. And then, of course, there are the crazy, despicable ideas coming from Silicon Valley itself: the latest proposal, floated by one tech executive at a recent conference, is that Silicon Valley should secede from the country and “build an opt-in society, ultimately outside the United States, run by technology.” Let’s share his pain: A country that needs a congressional hearing to fix a web-site is a disgrace to Silicon Valley.

This bubbling discontent is reassuring. It might even help bury some of the myths spun by Silicon Valley. Wouldn’t it be nice if one day, told that Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” we would finally read between the lines and discover its true meaning: “to monetize all of the world’s information and make it universally inaccessible and profitable”? With this act of subversive interpretation, we might eventually hit upon the greatest emancipatory insight of all: Letting Google organize all of the world’s information makes as much sense as letting Halliburton organize all of the world’s oil.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 Nächste Seite   |  Artikel auf einer Seite

Hier können Sie die Rechte an diesem Artikel erwerben

Weitere Empfehlungen
Dark American Blues Nicht nur für Anarchistensöhne

Die Klagen der Sünder: Der amerikanische Sänger The White Buffalo spielt in der Frankfurter Batschkapp. Bekannt sind seine Songs aus der Fernsehserie Sons Of Anarchy. Mehr Von Christian Riethmüller

28.07.2016, 20:09 Uhr | Rhein-Main
Frankfurter Anthologie Robert Frost: Innehaltend inmitten der Wälder an einem Schnee-Abend

Innehaltend inmitten der Wälder an einem Schnee-Abend von Robert Frost, gelesen von Thomas Huber. Mehr

29.07.2016, 16:44 Uhr | Feuilleton
Trendige Wohnviertel Wo ist das nächste Prenzlauerberg?

Schlaue Computer und Big Data wecken die Phantasie von Immobilien-Besitzern: Zeigen sie, welche Stadtviertel bald in Mode kommen? Mehr

29.07.2016, 15:55 Uhr | Wirtschaft
Serientrailer Lucifer

Lucifer ist auf Amazon Prime abrufbar. Mehr

29.07.2016, 15:57 Uhr | Feuilleton
Quartalsergebnisse Smartphone-Werbung und Videos lassen Google-Gewinn steigen

Auch der Mutterkonzern Alphabet konnte seinen Gewinn und Umsatz im abgelaufenen Quartal deutlicher als erwartet erhöhen. Mehr

29.07.2016, 07:25 Uhr | Wirtschaft

Merkels Trotz

Von Christian Geyer

Dass die Kanzlerin ihre Pressekonferenz dazu nutzte, sich als Rechthaberin zu inszenieren, war unsouverän, instinktlos und in der Sache falsch. Mehr 1796

Abonnieren Sie den Newsletter „Literatur“