On Thursday, January 13 the New America Foundation celebrated the publication of Schwartz Fellow Evgeny Morozov’s first book, Net Delusion: The Dark Side of the Internet. Susan Glasser, Editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy, engaged Morozov in a fascinating conversation about the thought process behind the recently released book. At Glasser’s prompting, Morozov explained how he came to be a cyber-realist, one who is deeply skeptical of the optimistic assumptions many have made about the role of the internet and social media. Morozov admitted that he too was once a cyber-utopianist, one who assumed that new media would play a huge role in the democratizing of the world and the mobilization of its people. However, after working for three years with journalists and activists to promote the internet freedom agenda, Morozov realized that many of the projects he was working on were not producing the intended outcome and, in some instances, were even making situations worse. It was this realization that prompted Morozov to call into question the widely-held assumption that individuals will use the internet to undermine regimes. Morozov began to investigate the ways in which governments have responded to and employed the internet and came to the conclusion that our paradigm for the internet is wrong; the internet can have widely different impacts in different environments and understanding the context is essential to understanding the role of new media.
This event is co-sponsored by the New America Foundation and Foreign Policy.