[Setting: A meeting room at a hospital where a bunch of doctors and tech critic Evgeny Morozov are trying to make sense of a patient who’s come in with an unknown condition.]
Doctor: We’re not entirely sure what’s going on here. We can find major systemic issues — concentrated in the sensory and immune systems — but we’re not entirely sure how they’ll manifest themselves. For as long as I’ve worked in medicine, I’d say this will certainly be the most interesting patient we have ever seen.
Evgeny Morozov: A “PATIENT,” you idiot?! How self-absorbed can you be to use such a simple term? The “patient”, as you call him, is a complicated organism made up of hundreds of bones, millions of nerves, billions of cells and trillions of proteins and sugars.
Doctor: Yes. I know. We simply use that term to discuss the situation more efficiently. This patient, if you’ll pardon the term, has exhibited amazing improvements in some biological functions and then some very concerning regressions in others. We’re just trying to get a handle on the problems.
Evgeny Morozov: “PROBLEMS,” you idiot?! Sounds more like you’re hunting around his body with a hammer, looking for nails. Or — a way to make a buck.
Doctor: The patient came to us. He was asking questions about his rapidly changing health. We’re trying to answer them. For instance, while his vision and memory has vastly improved, his ability to listen has greatly declined. We want to understand if things will stay that way or if his hearing may once again return to normal. If not, however, we will need to figure out the best treatment. We just don’t know what it is.
Evgeny Morozov: “TREATMENT,” you idiot?! You think that just because you have identified a so-called problem, we need to have a treatment for it? Maybe it’s okay that he doesn’t hear as well now.
Doctor: Well, some people enjoy listening. We’re also fascinated by the sight and memory improvements. Even if his hearing doesn’t come back, his life could have taken some kind of turn for the better.
Evgeny Morozov: “BETTER,” you idiot?! What does that word even mean? How disingenuous and harmful to make a diagnosis like that — when you don’t even know all the consequences of having better sight and memory.
Doctor: None of us, and no good scientist, would say he “knows.” We’ve done an array of tests — genetics, hormones, blood-sugar, white blood cell counts — and scans — CT, MRI, X-ray — as much as we can do, and have a better sense of what we think will happen. The purpose of this meeting is to start getting a better handle on that answer by parsing through all that data.
Evgeny Morozov: “DATA,” you idiot?! Now, you’re not only hunting for a problem with a hammer, you’re building new hammers! How can you know this “data” will be helpful to your “treatment?” How can you put all your faith in such flimflamery? You purport to be a doctor and yet you make your diagnosis based on all sorts of unproven theories.
Doctor: We acknowledge that this is an entirely new case. We’re simply using the best tools at our disposal.
Evgeny Morozov: “TOOLS,” you idiot?! Sounds more like you’re putting faith in cheap buzzwords.
Doctor: We’re just trying to have a discussion about the patient. What exactly is your diagnosis?
Evgeny Morozov: …stop solutionism.