An Internet to love and hate


The rise of the Internet promised great upside for billions of people around the world: enhanced global communication, the spread of democracy, and a new wave of innovation. A new book suggests the reality is starkly different.

The Internet Is Not the Answer (Atlantic Monthly Press; $25), by web commentator and entrepreneur Andrew Keen, argues that the “economic and cultural win for its billions of users” was a mirage. According to Keen, who founded in 1995 and turned that experience into a career on the tech-industry speaking circuit, the Internet’s benefits have accrued mostly to a “tiny group of young white men in black limousines,” leaving everyone else worse off. Sure, software may be eating the world, as investor Marc Andreessen so aptly described it in 2011, but it is also “ravenously consuming our jobs,” Keen writes, leading to a “structural unemployment crisis” that is making most people poorer…

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