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.
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About the Author
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.
Timingas I know all too well from my day job as a serial entrepreneur of mostly ill-timed startupsis 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.