About The Book
Andrew Keen was among the earliest to write about the dangers of the Internet to our culture and society. His most recent book, The Internet Is Not the Answer, was praised even by Kazuo Ishiguro in the New Statesman (UK), who called it “compelling,” “persuasive,” and “scary.” Keen’s new book, How to Fix the Future, based on research, analysis, and Keen’s own reporting in America and around the world, showcases global solutions for our digital predicament. After the huge changes of the Industrial Revolution, civilized societies remade nineteenth-century capitalism into a more humane version of itself, and Keen shows how we can do the same thing in the wake of the Digital Revolution.Keen identifies five broad strategies to tackle the digital future: competitive innovation, government regulation, consumer choice, social responsibility by business leaders, and education. Traveling the world in order to identify best (and worst) practices in these five areas, Keen moves from Estonia, where the cofounder of Skype and the forward-thinking president Toomas Ilves are forming a model for Internet digital governance, to Germany, whose automobile titans are acting carefully to navigate the future of self-driving cars, to Scandinavia, Korea, India, and, of course, Silicon Valley.
Powerfully argued and deeply engaging, How to Fix the Future provides hope that the economic inequality, unemployment, cultural decay, war on privacy, and individual alienation that the digital upheaval is causing may still be solvable, and that the future may yet become something that we can look forward to.
More and more skeptics argue that today’s networked transformation is actually endangering humanity by writing us out of our own story. This new people problem, they fear, is turning out to be a feature, rather than just a bug, of our networked age. And so one contemporary skeptic, Jaron Lanier, the American computer scientist who first coined the term “virtual reality,” admits to a nostalgia for that halcyon time in the last century when technology did, indeed, put people first.
“I miss the future,” Lanier confesses.
He’s not alone. Even Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is nostalgic for the open, decentralized future that he imagined he had fathered in 1989. And so, at the 2016 Decentralized Web Summit in San Francisco, Berners-Lee spoke passionately about the current state of the internet, particularly the emergence of vast digital monopolies and the pervasive culture of online surveillance. This Summit, held in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset district at the headquarters of the Internet Archive, the world’s largest non-profit digital library, captured the disenchantment amongst many other leading technologists with the current web.
“We originally wanted three things from the Internet,” Brewster Kahle, the Summit organizer and the founder of the Internet Archive, told me: “reliability,” “privacy” and “fun.” We got the fun, he admits. But the other stuff, privacy and reliability, he argued, hasn’t been delivered.