Book Festival preview: Andrew Keen

This article is from 2015

Book Festival preview: Andrew Keen

Michael Amsler

Why the internet might still not be the answer

To those who spend most of their time either head bowed, leaning into a tablet or slouched in front of their home PC, the title of Andrew Keen’s latest non-fiction study is a challenge to their entire ethos. The Internet is Not the Answer might lead to this Anglo-American author being dismissed as a weird crypto-luddite type spoiling everyone’s social media-gorging fun, but it should be noted that Keen is a strong advocate of the online world: he’s just not a fan of its current configuration.

For him, the problem is that the internet is not the democratic, equality-seeking force it’s often painted as being (especially on the occasions in recent times when people have risen up against tyrannical governments for revolutions partly triggered by digital communication).

The ability of states to spy on people not just in their own backyard but across the globe is now well acknowledged, but Keen also points out that individuals are being dumped onto the economic scrapheap in vast numbers while only the very few are able to feast on the vast wealth being created. Keen will address this desperate situation in Edinburgh, but whether the solutions are out there remains to be seen.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 26 Aug, 8.45pm, £10 (£8).

Andrew Keen

It has become a central part of our lives, but has the internet done more harm than good to our cultural and social wellbeing? Anglo-American entrepreneur Andrew Keen veers towards the former viewpoint, tracing the history of the internet from its innocent inception in the 1960s through to today’s all-consuming beast. The…