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In his epic takedown of TED in the New Republic last August, Evgeny Morozov serves up a memorable quote by I F Stone on Theodore White: “a writer who can be so universally admiring need never lunch alone.”

If Morozov’s writings were critiqued on that standard, he’d rarely lunch at all.

One of the most strident critics of technological ‘utopianism’ there is today, Morozov is often accused of being more troll, less critic.

If the accusation bothers him, he hides it well.

The 29-year-old Belarussian writer who is currently pursuing a PhD in the history of science at Harvard questions everything, all the time.

Of late, that includes himself.

“I have more influence than I ought to have,” he said to the New York Times in an interview recently, and that he had a nagging feeling that his criticisms were too shallow. “The idea of the Internet allowed me to cut too many corners, intellectually.”

That willingness to question everything may be Morozov’s biggest contribution to tech discourse as he breaks the code among technology writers that seems built on an implicit agreement: whatever else is wrong with it, technology is always superior to the alternative.

Not from where Morozov is standing.

Whether he’s taking on Big Data; the belief that the internet has been a democratising influence on the world; or, in a recent essay on the challenge of internet consumerism, the ethical questions that ‘smart’ devices pose as we voluntarily trade in our own data, he seems committed to one agenda: making us realise that the virtual reality is more real than virtual, with very messy, everyday implications.

Implications that rely on good old-fashioned ethics, morality and that much reviled word, politics, to resolve them rather than more technology.

It’s a recurring theme in his very prolific writing career: his second book, To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism released this March and takes up where his previous one, The Net Delusion leaves off. He also writes for newspapers and magazines worldwide, including The New York Times,The Wall Street JournalFinancial TimesThe EconomistThe GuardianThe New RepublicInternational Herald Tribune, and Slate among others.

Previously, he has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University, a fellow at theNew America Foundation, and a contributing editor and blogger for Foreign Policy magazine, where he wrote the blog Net Effect. He was also director of new media at the NGO Transitions Online – a stint that, as he explained to the NYT, gave him his epiphany about technology when he realised that he was talking about Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube – the new tools of independent journalism, which is what Transitions promotes – to people in Tajikistan who had no electricity. He left Transitions, got a fellowship from the Open Society Institute, and got to work on The Net Delusion.

Today, as he takes on the disapproving might of the Internet-centrics, he has one key advantage, apart from his formidable intellect: not only does he understand technology as well as the best of them, he gets something they mostly don’t: reality.

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