Even though the faculty here in the College of Arts & Letters are on spring break, we’re still chatting away over email, sharing stories and ideas. A number of us have really been enjoying the writing of Evgeny Morozov, author of To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism (2013) and The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (2011).
Morozov writes with a great deal of insight and provides a sharp and provocative counter-balance to the hype that is ritualistically produced by the high-tech Silicon Valley types. In a recent column in the New York Times, for example, he concludes by sharing a 1939 observation from the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset:
“I wish it would dawn upon engineers that, in order to be an engineer, it is not enough to be an engineer.”
From the perspective of STS scholars, such a statement seems commonsensical and mundane. Engineers also should be students of philosophy and history, of literature and politics. Yet Morozov (like Ortega y Gasset before him) reminds us that we have a lot of work to do before leaders in Silicon Valley – not to mention the next generations of American engineers and technologists – act accordingly!