During our class on Tuesday, guest lecturer Adam Papedieck mentioned Evgeny Morozov and encouraged us to check out his TedTalks about the “dark side” of ICTs in developing nations.
Check out the TedTalk by Evgeny Morozov, How the Net Aids Dictatorships, here! This video greatly compliments the other videos and writings by Morozov and Clay Shirky that my peers have analyzed this week in response to Papedieck’s suggestion.
Morozov criticizes the view that we can promote democracy through the spread of ICTs and the Internet. In class and many blog posts, we have highlighted crowdsourcing, blogging, Internet access, and the social media as means to promote development, democratize information, and empower marginalized communities. However, Morozov points out that the Internet perpetuates authoritarianism in many developing nations and defers democracy.
It’s important that consider both the positive and negative outcomes of ICT proliferation. While we focus on positive uses of ICTs and potential development outcomes, we must be sure not to ignore potential unintended consequences. This TedTalk is not meant to present a pessimistic view of ICT or to discourage optimistic ICT4D efforts, rather it is meant to encourage realism and encourage us to take consider all possible outcomes. Morozo ends with this great quote: “We have to stop thinking about the number of iPods per capita, and we can start thinking about ways we can empower intellectuals, dissidents, NGOs, and the members of civil society.”