“Google is a champion of cultural democracy, but without culture and without democracy.” In this witty and polemical critique the philosopher Barbara Cassin takes aim at Google and our culture of big data. Enlisting her formidable knowledge of the rhetorical tradition, Cassin demolishes the Google myth of a “good” tech company and its “democracy of clicks,” laying bare the philosophical poverty and political naiveté that underwrites its founding slogans: “Organize the world’s information,” and “Don’t be evil.” For Cassin, this conjunction of globalizing knowledge and moral imperative is frighteningly similar to the way American demagogues justify their own universalizing mission before the world.
While sensitive to the possibilities of technology and to Google’s playful appeal, Cassin shows what is lost when a narrow worship of information becomes dogma, such that research comes to mean data mining and other languages become provincial “flavors” folded into an impoverished Globish, or global English.
About the Author
Barbara Cassin is Director of Research at the CNRS in Paris and President of the Collège International de Philosophie. Her Dictionary of Untranslatables has been adapted into five languages, and her Nostalgia: When Are We Ever at Home? won the 2015 French Voices Grand Prize. Her most recent book to appear in English is Heidegger: His Life and His Philosophy (coauthored with Alain Badiou).
Michael Syrotinski (Translator)
Michael Syrotinski is Marshall Professor of French at the University of Glasgow.
Table of Contents
Preface to the English-Language Edition
Introduction: Why Be Interested in Google?
Chapter 1. Google Makes the Internet Apparent
Chapter 2. Google Inc.: From Search to Global Capital
Chapter 3. "Our mission is to organize the world's information"
Chapter 4. "Don't Be Evil"
Chapter 5. On Cultural Democracy