Techno-utopians seem to believe that technology can only bring good. However, the most popular recent form of technology which seems to be social media has caused chaos and threats to national security all over the world.
An article that was published last year in the Wall Street Journal called “Techno-Utopians Are Mugged by Reality” said that shutting down social media for an hour or two to prevent or stop violence is not considered a violation to the freedom of speech.
The article was published in August 2011, shortly after the riots took place in London causing a lot of mayhem. During that period, British Prime Minister said that governments should be able to shut down social media for a while in order to prevent and control acts of violence that happen. In the end, no one would suffocate or die if access to Twitter was restricted for a short time.
The article also mentions a reporter who asked people in London whether they would rather shut down Twitter temporarily to stop and prevent the chaos from happening or keep it up and running so that these people can tweet about the X-Factor. Quite surprisingly most people preferred tweeting about the X-Factor. Hence the reporter concluded: “So addicted are we to our electronic connections, we simply cannot bear to be parted, for even an hour or two, in the name of public safety while London burns.”
I think people should consider the disadvantages a Techno-utopia would bring before assuming it is all good. The following is an interesting quote from the article:
As Thomas Hobbes would say, without the enforcement of rules for ordered liberty, life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” both in the real world and online.
Read the full article here.