Is the future broken?
Maybe not, but by many measures the present is. Over the past couple of years, the networks and devices that we’ve come to rely on for our information, consumption, and social interactions have had their toxic underbellies exposed: Social networks have been twisted by fake news and filter bubbles, the constant ping of notifications on screens has shortened attention spans and created addictions, and it sometimes seems all the big tech companies are determined to erase every trace of privacy left in the world.
We know how we got here. In fact, most of the conversation around technology in 2017 was about examining the problems and laying blame. Now the conversation has begun about repairing the damage and charting the best way forward.
One of the people leading that conversation is Andrew Keen. Keen is an author, and if you look at the titles of his previous books — The Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo, and The Internet Is Not the Answer — you can tell he’s been a tech naysayer since before it was cool. But he’s singing a different tune with his new book, How to Fix the Future. Instead of diagnosing problems, Keen is proposing solutions, traveling the globe to educate himself and his readers on how governments, private enterprise, and individuals can build a kind of new “digital social contract” as the influence of technology in our lives inevitably grows.
Keen joins Mashable’s MashTalk podcast to discuss those solutions, and the five tools he thinks are essential in creating them: competitive innovation, social responsibility, worker and consumer choice, education, and — yes — regulation. While many in Silicon Valley might bristle at any discussion of government stepping in on their turf, Keen sees regulation as an essential part of fixing things, although he also explains that it’s not a panacea, and that it needs to be complemented with empowered consumers and innovative companies with new business models if it’s going to help instead of hinder progress.
You can subscribe to or , and we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review. Feel free to hit us with questions and comments by tweeting to or attaching the #MashTalk hashtag. We welcome all feedback.