How to Fix the Future

By Andrew Keen
Former Internet entrepreneur Andrew Keen was among the earliest to write about the dangers that the Internet poses to our culture and society. His 2007 book The Cult of the Amateur was critical in helping advance the conversation around the Internet, which has now morphed from a tool providing efficiencies and opportunities for consumers and business to an elemental force that is profoundly reshaping our societies and our world.
In his new book, How to Fix the Future, Keen focuses on what we can do about this seemingly intractable situation. Looking to the past to learn how we might change our future, he describes how societies tamed the excesses of the Industrial Revolution, which, like its digital counterpart, demolished long-standing models of living, ruined harmonious environments, and altered the business world beyond recognition. Traveling the world to interview experts in a wide variety of fields, from EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, whose recent 2.4 billion fine to Google made headlines around the world, to successful venture capitalists who nonetheless see the tide turning, to CEOs of companies including The New York Times, Keen unearths approaches to tackling our digital future.
There are five key tools that Keen identifies: regulation, competitive innovation, social responsibility, worker and consumer choice, and education. His journey to discover how these tools are being put into practice around the globe takes him from digital-oriented Estonia, where Skype was founded and where every citizen can access whatever data the government holds on them by logging in to an online database, and where a "e-residency" program allows the country to expand beyond its narrow borders, to Singapore, where a large part of the higher education sector consists in professional courses in coding and website design, to India, Germany, China, Russia, and, of course, Silicon Valley.
Powerful, urgent, and deeply engaging, How to Fix the Future vividly depicts what we must do if we are to try to preserve human values in an increasingly digital world and what steps we might take as societies and individuals to make the future something we can again look forward to.


    REVIEW QUOTES
Praise for How to Fix the Future

"How to Fix the Future, by longtime tech critic Andrew Keen, avoids simplistic condemnations, offering instead a progressive plan to ease the growing discomfort with emerging technologies that only a few years ago were being celebrated. The book provides compelling examples of ongoing experiments addressing new ways of developing and integrating socially responsible technology into our lives, especially in media, government, and education . . . Keen genuinely believes that, yes, we can fix the future."--Larry Downes, Washington Post

"With his new book, Keen switches from sarcasm to a kind of pragmatic optimism . . . Like Churchill, he offers mostly blood, sweat and tears; but at least he has a program of what needs to be done . . . It makes sense, as Keen seeks to do, to take the long view of our current dilemmas."--John Naughton, Guardian

"In [Keen's] acerbic, articulate global survey of human-centered solutions, he examines best practice in consumer choice, education, innovation, regulation and social responsibility . . . An invigorating mix of principle and vision."--Nature

"Ambitious . . . How to Fix the Future is a truly important book and the most significant work so far in an emerging body of literature in which technology's smartest thinkers are raising alarm bells about the state of the Internet, and laying groundwork for how to fix it."--Fortune

"Eschewing much of the over-the-top luddism that now fills the New York Times, the Guardian, and other mainstream media outlets, Keen proffers practical solutions to a wide range of tech-related woes."--TechCrunch

"After years of giddiness about the wonders of technology, a new realization is dawning: the future is broken. Andrew Keen was among the first and most insightful to see it. The combination of the digital revolution, global hyperconnectivity, and economic dysfunction has led to a populist backlash and destruction of civil discourse. In this bracing book, Keen offers tools for righting our societies and principles to guide us in the future."--Walter Isaacson, New York Times-bestselling author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci

"In this engaging, provocative book, [Keen] outlines five strategies--regulation, competitive innovation, consumer choice, civic responsibility, and education--that, working in collaboration, can help ensure an open, decentralized digital future . . . Valuable insights on preserving our humanity in a digital world."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Keen, who has spent his career warning of the dangers of the Internet, takes a more positive turn in this complex yet accessible study. Comparing our current situation to the Industrial Revolution, he stresses the importance of keeping humanity at the center of technology."--Booklist

Praise for The Internet Is Not the Answer

"The Internet Is Not the Answer is the most compelling, persuasive, and passionately negative thing I've yet read on this topic. It offers a scary picture of how the ultra-libertarian superstars of Silicon Valley are leading us inexorably into a future with the sort of social inequalities not seen in the West since the early days of the Industrial Revolution."--Kazuo Ishiguro, New Statesman (Books of the Year)

"Andrew Keen has written a very powerful and daring manifesto questioning whether the Internet lives up to its own espoused values. He is not an opponent of Internet culture, he is its conscience, and must be heard."--Po Bronson

"Andrew Keen is the Christopher Hitchens of the Internet. Neglect this book with peril. In an industry and world full of prosaic pabulum about the supposedly digitally divine, Keen's work is an important and sharp razor."--Michael Fertik, CEO, Reputation.com

"This is the best and most readable critique of Silicon Valley yet. Keen is no technophobe nor a stranger to The Valley and this is what makes his book especially devastating. On the other hand it allows him to carve out a small space for optimism."--David Lowery, founder of Camper Van Beethoven and cofounder of Cracker

"Keen should proudly wear the label of 21st-century Luddite. His new book, The Internet Is Not The Answer, is a packed compendium of all the ways digital life casts aside basic human virtues in favor of a rapacious, winner-takes-all economy . . . Keen has delivered an enormously useful primer for those of us concerned that online life isn't as shiny as our digital avatars would like us to believe."--Washington Post

"Keen is intent on exposing the greed, egotism and narcissism that fuels the tech world . . . Even if you don't agree with, say, his vitriolic takedowns of Uber and Airbnb, his sheer passion is likely to hold your interest."--Chicago Tribune

"The Internet Is Not the Answer claims that the only real best friend today's tech titans have is money, and until policymakers intervene, or until the 'digital elite' adopt a more altruistic posture, the Internet will remain a winner-take-all marketplace that's widening a yawning gulf between society's haves and have-nots. . . . The Internet Is Not the Answer supports its convincing narrative with startling numbers and research cataloged over roughly forty pages worth of endnotes."--San Francisco Chronicle

"The Internet Is Not the Answer returns to arguments that Mr. Keen has made in previous books, expanding the case for worries about privacy in the wake of the revelations of Edward Snowden . . . it makes a strident economic argument. . . . Unbridled techno-Utopianism shows only the revolution's benefits, and is dangerously incomplete. It is handy, therefore, to have sceptics like Mr. Keen around."--Economist

"[Keen] can be a telling polemicist and has a sharp eye when it comes to skewering the pretensions and self-delusions of the new digital establishment. . . . Keen has a sharp ear for the sanctimonious of tech happy talk."--Financial Times

"[Keen is] the most famous British tech voice in the US."--GQ

"Keen's larger point stands: The tech world, like industrial capitalism before it, will not become sufficiently equitable unless we legislate it to be that way . . . So instead of waiting for technology to sort us out, Keen argues that it's time to intervene--to manage digital developments in ways that increase rather than undermine human welfare."--Globe and Mail

"The Internet Is Not the Answer is the most frightening book I've read in years (perhaps in my lifetime), as frightful as the conservative Supreme Court justices and the deniers of climate change. . . . Keen is unsparing of what he calls 'the libertarian elites' who want to eliminate all oversight, all regulations, all concern for the safety of others. . . . I'd call him a prophet."--CounterPunch

"Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Keen takes on the very institution that provides his living . . . Impassioned and insistent, this is a wake-up call worth considering."--Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Andrew Keen has again shown himself one of the sharpest critics of Silicon Valley hype, greed, egotism, and inequity. His tales are revealing, his analyses biting. Beneath the criticism is a moral commitment, too, a defense of humane society--the right to be left alone, a fair shot at success, access to the doings of the powerful, and other democratic ideals threatened by the Internet and its moguls."--Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation

"Keen provokes us in every sense of the word--at times maddening, more often thought-provoking, he lets just enough out of the Silicon Valley hot air balloon to start a real conversation about the full impact of digital technology. But will anyone accept the invitation? And, if they do, will anyone thank Andrew Keen for bursting our bubble? If so, maybe there's hope for the digital generation after all."--Larry Downes, co-author of Unleashing the Killer App

"A provocative title and an even more provocative book. Andrew Keen rightly challenges us to think about how the internet will shape society. I remain more optimistic, but hope I'm right to be so."--Mark Read, CEO, WPP Digital

"Andrew Keen has done it again. With great authority he places modern Silicon Valley into a historical context, comparing its structure to the feudal system, which produced a wealthy elite from the efforts of myriad serfs. If you have read The Circle, this is your next read. Like me, you may find much to disagree with. But you won't be able to put it down. This is a book that demands a reaction. The Valley will never be the same."--Keith Teare, co-founder of TechCrunch, Easynet and RealNames

"Keen makes a deeply important argument and offers a constructive caution that there is no Moore's Law for human progress, that technological determinism is not a good in itself, and that until we fuse technology with humanity the real power in the technology that connects will in many ways be to disconnect us from what matters."--Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN and author of How

"For the past two decades, as we listened to a chorus of pundits tell us the Internet would generate more democracy and opportunity, the real world seems to grow more oppressive and unequal by the day. Drawing on his formidable knowledge of this New Economy, Andrew Keen explains why Uber could make billions destroying taxi unions, to cite just one example - and why some people still see this as progress. If you've ever wondered why the New Economy looks suspiciously like the Old Economy--only with even more for the winners and less for everyone else--put down your shiny new phablet and read this book."--Robert Levine, author of Free Ride "The argument travels between a beach in Mexico where the photo-sharing app Instagram was invented on a laptop and the boarded-up buildings in Rochester, N.Y., that memorialize the bankruptcy of Kodak. . . . [Keen] knows the digital world inside and out--both as an entrepreneur and as a journalistic commentator."--Christian Science Monitor

"Keen goes among the Silicon Valley hipsters--those who truly believe they are on the verge of joining the one percent who own half the winner-takes-all economy--and he is not impressed."--New Scientist

"Keen, himself a veteran of the tech industry, reveals the behind-the-scenes workings of the Internet . . . His best message, however, is that with consideration and the application of care we can still shape a future society that utilizes the strengths of the internet while not allowing it to overwhelm us and turn us into robotic servants of the very technology that was designed to help us gain freedom and growth as human beings."--Daily News Online

"If you're stuck like a fly in the World Wide Web and your life is largely lived online, then The Internet Is Not the Answer is a book you won't be able to put down."--Journal Record

"Should be applauded for rowing against the tide of veneration for technological innovation."--Daily Telegraph

"A punchy manifesto on the internet age. . . . [Keen] guides us through the history and excess of the net, from its arrival in 1991, though the birth of Instagram in 2010 and onwards, to the specter of privacy concerns and 'big data' that loom over us today. . . . The book is dazzling in scope. . . . This book is a must-read for anyone remotely concerned about their lives on the net."--Independent

"Andrew Keen's pleasingly incisive study argues that, far from being a democratizing force in society, the internet has only amplified global inequities. . . . [Keen] wants to persuade us to transcend our childlike fascination with the baubles of cyberspace so that we can take a long hard look at the weird, dysfunctional, inegalitarian, comprehensively surveilled world that we have been building with digital tools. . . . Keen challenges the dominant narrative about the internet--that it's a technology that liberates, informs and empowers people."--Guardian

"The most devastating book I've read in a long while. Keen describes an Internet that's not as virtuous, open and egalitarian as was promised by those who developed it . . . this is from someone who embraces the digital age and still sees its potential."--San Jose Mercury News

"Keen warns of [the] Internet's disastrous impact . . . [he] argues that the digital revolution has been--his words--'an epic fail.' . . . A harsh critique of the digital world."--Voice of America

"A devastating new book."--Daily Mail

"Given the increasing power of technology in our lives, it's worth spending some time with skeptics, people like Andrew Keen . . . The Internet Is Not the Answer is a polemic with a good dose of gratuitous tech bashing . . . Keen argues that the Internet's hidden costs outweigh its benefits."--Mercury News

"Keen wants you to know that the Internet has not lived up to its early promise. Rather than fostering an environment of intellectual and social democracy, it has spawned a rule-by-mob culture, promoted narcissism and voyeurism, encouraged intolerance and exclusivity, created global monopolies, increased unemployment, and decimated whole industries."--Booklist

"A damning indictment of the Internet and digital technology . . . A well-written, convincing critique of Silicon Valley, and a worthy read for anyone with an email account."--Publishers Weekly

"It is with an acerbic wit, perspective and profound dismay that Keen dismisses the Internet as the revolutionary vehicle for progressing human civilization that it started out to be."--Prague Post

"[A] brilliant, packed history . . . An outstanding polemic, not only for internet sceptics (below as well as above the age of sixty) but also for its credulous users."--Sydney Morning Herald

Praise for How to Fix the Future

"In [Keen's] acerbic, articulate global survey of human-centered solutions, he examines best practice in consumer choice, education, innovation, regulation and social responsibility . . . An invigorating mix of principle and vision."--Nature

"Ambitious . . . How to Fix the Future is a truly important book and the most significant work so far in an emerging body of literature in which technology's smartest thinkers are raising alarm bells about the state of the Internet, and laying groundwork for how to fix it."--Fortune

"Eschewing much of the over-the-top luddism that now fills the New York Times, the Guardian, and other mainstream media outlets, Keen proffers practical solutions to a wide range of tech-related woes."--Larry Downes, TechCrunch

"After years of giddiness about the wonders of technology, a new realization is dawning: the future is broken. Andrew Keen was among the first and most insightful to see it. The combination of the digital revolution, global hyperconnectivity, and economic dysfunction has led to a populist backlash and destruction of civil discourse. In this bracing book, Keen offers tools for righting our societies and principles to guide us in the future."--Walter Isaacson, New York Times-bestselling author of Steve Jobs and Leonardo Da Vinci

"In this engaging, provocative book, [Keen] outlines five strategies--regulation, competitive innovation, consumer choice, civic responsibility, and education--that, working in collaboration, can help ensure an open, decentralized digital future . . . Valuable insights on preserving our humanity in a digital world."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Keen, who has spent his career warning of the dangers of the Internet, takes a more positive turn in this complex yet accessible study. Comparing our current situation to the Industrial Revolution, he stresses the importance of keeping humanity at the center of technology."--Booklist

Praise for The Internet Is Not the Answer

"The Internet Is Not the Answer is the most compelling, persuasive, and passionately negative thing I've yet read on this topic. It offers a scary picture of how the ultra-libertarian superstars of Silicon Valley are leading us inexorably into a future with the sort of social inequalities not seen in the West since the early days of the Industrial Revolution."--Kazuo Ishiguro, New Statesman (Books of the Year)

"Andrew Keen has written a very powerful and daring manifesto questioning whether the Internet lives up to its own espoused values. He is not an opponent of Internet culture, he is its conscience, and must be heard."--Po Bronson

"Andrew Keen is the Christopher Hitchens of the Internet. Neglect this book with peril. In an industry and world full of prosaic pabulum about the supposedly digitally divine, Keen's work is an important and sharp razor."--Michael Fertik, CEO, Reputation.com

"This is the best and most readable critique of Silicon Valley yet. Keen is no technophobe nor a stranger to The Valley and this is what makes his book especially devastating. On the other hand it allows him to carve out a small space for optimism."--David Lowery, founder of Camper Van Beethoven and cofounder of Cracker

"Keen should proudly wear the label of 21st-century Luddite. His new book, The Internet Is Not The Answer, is a packed compendium of all the ways digital life casts aside basic human virtues in favor of a rapacious, winner-takes-all economy . . . Keen has delivered an enormously useful primer for those of us concerned that online life isn't as shiny as our digital avatars would like us to believe."--Washington Post

"Keen is intent on exposing the greed, egotism and narcissism that fuels the tech world . . . Even if you don't agree with, say, his vitriolic takedowns of Uber and Airbnb, his sheer passion is likely to hold your interest."--Chicago Tribune

"The Internet Is Not the Answer claims that the only real best friend today's tech titans have is money, and until policymakers intervene, or until the 'digital elite' adopt a more altruistic posture, the Internet will remain a winner-take-all marketplace that's widening a yawning gulf between society's haves and have-nots. . . . The Internet Is Not the Answer supports its convincing narrative with startling numbers and research cataloged over roughly forty pages worth of endnotes."--San Francisco Chronicle

"The Internet Is Not the Answer returns to arguments that Mr. Keen has made in previous books, expanding the case for worries about privacy in the wake of the revelations of Edward Snowden . . . it makes a strident economic argument. . . . Unbridled techno-Utopianism shows only the revolution's benefits, and is dangerously incomplete. It is handy, therefore, to have sceptics like Mr. Keen around."--Economist

"[Keen] can be a telling polemicist and has a sharp eye when it comes to skewering the pretensions and self-delusions of the new digital establishment. . . . Keen has a sharp ear for the sanctimonious of tech happy talk."--Financial Times

"[Keen is] the most famous British tech voice in the US."--GQ

"Keen's larger point stands: The tech world, like industrial capitalism before it, will not become sufficiently equitable unless we legislate it to be that way . . . So instead of waiting for technology to sort us out, Keen argues that it's time to intervene--to manage digital developments in ways that increase rather than undermine human welfare."--Globe and Mail

"The Internet Is Not the Answer is the most frightening book I've read in years (perhaps in my lifetime), as frightful as the conservative Supreme Court justices and the deniers of climate change. . . . Keen is unsparing of what he calls 'the libertarian elites' who want to eliminate all oversight, all regulations, all concern for the safety of others. . . . I'd call him a prophet."--CounterPunch

"Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Keen takes on the very institution that provides his living . . . Impassioned and insistent, this is a wake-up call worth considering."--Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Andrew Keen has again shown himself one of the sharpest critics of Silicon Valley hype, greed, egotism, and inequity. His tales are revealing, his analyses biting. Beneath the criticism is a moral commitment, too, a defense of humane society--the right to be left alone, a fair shot at success, access to the doings of the powerful, and other democratic ideals threatened by the Internet and its moguls."--Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation

"Keen provokes us in every sense of the word--at times maddening, more often thought-provoking, he lets just enough out of the Silicon Valley hot air balloon to start a real conversation about the full impact of digital technology. But will anyone accept the invitation? And, if they do, will anyone thank Andrew Keen for bursting our bubble? If so, maybe there's hope for the digital generation after all."--Larry Downes, co-author of Unleashing the Killer App

"A provocative title and an even more provocative book. Andrew Keen rightly challenges us to think about how the internet will shape society. I remain more optimistic, but hope I'm right to be so."--Mark Read, CEO, WPP Digital

"Andrew Keen has done it again. With great authority he places modern Silicon Valley into a historical context, comparing its structure to the feudal system, which produced a wealthy elite from the efforts of myriad serfs. If you have read The Circle, this is your next read. Like me, you may find much to disagree with. But you won't be able to put it down. This is a book that demands a reaction. The Valley will never be the same."--Keith Teare, co-founder of TechCrunch, Easynet and RealNames

"Keen makes a deeply important argument and offers a constructive caution that there is no Moore's Law for human progress, that technological determinism is not a good in itself, and that until we fuse technology with humanity the real power in the technology that connects will in many ways be to disconnect us from what matters."--Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN and author of How

"For the past two decades, as we listened to a chorus of pundits tell us the Internet would generate more democracy and opportunity, the real world seems to grow more oppressive and unequal by the day. Drawing on his formidable knowledge of this New Economy, Andrew Keen explains why Uber could make billions destroying taxi unions, to cite just one example - and why some people still see this as progress. If you've ever wondered why the New Economy looks suspiciously like the Old Economy--only with even more for the winners and less for everyone else--put down your shiny new phablet and read this book."--Robert Levine, author of Free Ride "The argument travels between a beach in Mexico where the photo-sharing app Instagram was invented on a laptop and the boarded-up buildings in Rochester, N.Y., that memorialize the bankruptcy of Kodak. . . . [Keen] knows the digital world inside and out--both as an entrepreneur and as a journalistic commentator."--Christian Science Monitor

"Keen goes among the Silicon Valley hipsters--those who truly believe they are on the verge of joining the one percent who own half the winner-takes-all economy--and he is not impressed."--New Scientist

"Keen, himself a veteran of the tech industry, reveals the behind-the-scenes workings of the Internet . . . His best message, however, is that with consideration and the application of care we can still shape a future society that utilizes the strengths of the internet while not allowing it to overwhelm us and turn us into robotic servants of the very technology that was designed to help us gain freedom and growth as human beings."--Daily News Online

"If you're stuck like a fly in the World Wide Web and your life is largely lived online, then The Internet Is Not the Answer is a book you won't be able to put down."--Journal Record

"Should be applauded for rowing against the tide of veneration for technological innovation."--Daily Telegraph

"A punchy manifesto on the internet age. . . . [Keen] guides us through the history and excess of the net, from its arrival in 1991, though the birth of Instagram in 2010 and onwards, to the specter of privacy concerns and 'big data' that loom over us today. . . . The book is dazzling in scope. . . . This book is a must-read for anyone remotely concerned about their lives on the net."--Independent

"Andrew Keen's pleasingly incisive study argues that, far from being a democratizing force in society, the internet has only amplified global inequities. . . . [Keen] wants to persuade us to transcend our childlike fascination with the baubles of cyberspace so that we can take a long hard look at the weird, dysfunctional, inegalitarian, comprehensively surveilled world that we have been building with digital tools. . . . Keen challenges the dominant narrative about the internet--that it's a technology that liberates, informs and empowers people."--Guardian

"The most devastating book I've read in a long while. Keen describes an Internet that's not as virtuous, open and egalitarian as was promised by those who developed it . . . this is from someone who embraces the digital age and still sees its potential."--San Jose Mercury News

"Keen warns of [the] Internet's disastrous impact . . . [he] argues that the digital revolution has been--his words--'an epic fail.' . . . A harsh critique of the digital world."--Voice of America

"A devastating new book."--Daily Mail

"Given the increasing power of technology in our lives, it's worth spending some time with skeptics, people like Andrew Keen . . . The Internet Is Not the Answer is a polemic with a good dose of gratuitous tech bashing . . . Keen argues that the Internet's hidden costs outweigh its benefits."--Mercury News

"Keen wants you to know that the Internet has not lived up to its early promise. Rather than fostering an environment of intellectual and social democracy, it has spawned a rule-by-mob culture, promoted narcissism and voyeurism, encouraged intolerance and exclusivity, created global monopolies, increased unemployment, and decimated whole industries."--Booklist

"A damning indictment of the Internet and digital technology . . . A well-written, convincing critique of Silicon Valley, and a worthy read for anyone with an email account."--Publishers Weekly

"It is with an acerbic wit, perspective and profound dismay that Keen dismisses the Internet as the revolutionary vehicle for progressing human civilization that it started out to be."--Prague Post

"[A] brilliant, packed history . . . An outstanding polemic, not only for internet sceptics (below as well as above the age of sixty) but also for its credulous users."--Sydney Morning Herald




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Publisher Atlantic Monthly Press
Publish date 02/06/2018
Pages 288
ISBN-13 9780802126641
ISBN-10 0802126642
Language English

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