Sunday, March 20, 2011

Evgeny Morozov on "What Technolgoy Wants" by Kevin Kelly

A scathing review that'll make you go, "Ouch!"

Kelly’s project, by contrast, seeks to deepen the moral void -— and to establish its normative character by claiming that it is propelled by the same forces as evolution. But can evolution really explain the plight of child laborers mining for cobalt—a key ingredient in batteries for mobile phones—in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Zambia? (According to a 2007 study by SwedWatch, a Swedish watchdog, there were some fifty thousand workers under the age of eighteen involved in this practice.) Is exploiting minors for cobalt mining something that technology wants, or is it something that certain businesses, here disguised under the innocent label of the “technium,” require? To claim that such processes follow the normal direction of evolution is to let the mining corporations off the hook far too easily.