How to Fix the Future

How to Fix the Future

by Andrew Keen


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802126641
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Andrew Keen is one of the world’s best known and controversial commentators on the digital revolution. He is the author of three previous books: Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo and The Internet Is Not The Answer. He is also a serial tech entrepreneur who has founded many startups including Audiocafe, AfterTV and the Silicon Valley innovation salon Futurecast.

Read an Excerpt

Having spent the last decade writing critically about the Digital Revolution, I've been called everything from a Luddite and a curmudgeon to the "Antichrist of Silicon Valley." At first, I was part of a small group of dissenting authors who challenged the conventional wisdom about the Internet's beneficial impact on society. But, over the last few years, as the zeitgeist has zigged from optimism to pessimism about our technological future, so more and more pundits have joined our ranks. Now everyone, it seems, is penning polemics against surveillance capitalism, big data monopolists, the echo chamber politics of social media, irresponsible Silicon Valley billionaires, fake news, online anger and loneliness, mass technological unemployment, digital addiction and the existential risk of smart algorithms. The world has caught up with my arguments. Nobody calls me the Antichrist any more.

Timing—as I know all too well from my day job as a serial entrepreneur of mostly ill-timed startups—is everything. Having written three books exposing the dark side of the digital revolution, the time is now right to write something more positive. So, rather than yet another noxious screed against contemporary technology, what you are about to read offers what I hope are constructive answers to the myriad of digital questions on the horizon. To borrow a fashionable Silicon Valley word, it represents a pivot in my writing career. This is a solutions book. It's obvious that the future needs to be fixed. The question now is how to fix it.

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