Keen's new provocation: internet is an epic fail

Former speaker at ICS Local 2013 in Milan, the “Antichrist of Silicon Valley” Andrew Keen has just published a new book, titled “The Internet is not the Answer”, where the popular and controversial Internet guru reflects on how the web has only amplified global inequities

“With the creation of the Web came the creation of a new kind of capitalism. And it has been anything but a cooperative venture”: this is only a sneak preview of Andrew Keen's harsh criticism of the net pervading his new, ambitious book The Internet is not the Answer. Keen traces the history of the internet from its founding in the 1960s to the era of big data companies, with their attempts to capitalize basically on every human activity. Through this accurate digression, the author considers – and criticises – how this digital revolution is reshaping a new world dominated by 21st century monopolists like Amazon and Google, “selfie-centrism”, lack of privacy, increasing unemployment as well as the gap between rich and poor.

According to the “Antichrist of Silicon Valley” – this is how Keen defines himself – the internet is nothing but a big lie which, far from being “a platform for equality” meant to spread democracy, ended up giving power to “a tiny group of young white men in black limousines” who have built their fortune on the exploitment of users personal data, as if we all worked for Google and Facebook.

Among the most controversial personalities of our times, back in the nineties Keen used to be an “Internet evangelist” but soon turned out to be one of the main web opponents. His first book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture, published in 2007, was indeed a rough critique of the obsession with user-generated content which characterised the early days of web 2.0.

So there's nothing new under the sun. This biting criticism towards a “digital generation of masters of the universe” is not exactly a surprise within Keen's argumentative repertoire: two years ago, his well-known web-skeptic ideology enflamed the debate of ICS Local in Milan, where he argued on what he called the “illusions of the digital revolution”, defining the internet as “the field of collective illusions and the power of the few.”



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