A Dangerous Illusion

There’s an excellent essay by Jaron Lanier titled “Digital Maoism” (Link) that’s very much worth taking the time to read if you’re all into the internet and social software and Web 2.0 technology {and even if you’re not}. Lanier’s attitude very much reflects my own – from the manner in which something like Wikipedia functions and how it’s been so quickly adopted to the the slow-to-develop business models for content creators and the aggregation of anything posted on the net sans context to the whole idea that collectivism has all the answers to society’s problems. It’s good to have such an eloquent individual address the concerns I share.

He covers a lot of territory and raises some issues the pro-collectivites are probably going to dismiss. But I’m with Lanier. The pragmatic view is to expect a collective of users to: a) do what you don’t expect and b) do what you shouldn’t have to expect. Right now I’m already expecting a lot of pretty stupid stuff. It’s the even more stupid, unexpected stuff that should have us all being a bit more wary about how all this is starting to play out.

I’ve not yet read the responses to his essay (Link), but they should prove interesting. Some I expect will be well-formed. Others I expect to be drivel. I have seen a list of some of the names on the list; their participation – in my mind – proves some of Lanier’s points. After all, who gave these people a soapbox on which to respond, and what qualifies their opinion over anyone else’s? Oh wait. Wouldn’t that be the lowest-common denominator collective that bestows on them a kind of real-life/net-life celebrity? Right. I’ll buy my own drum, thank you.

(Okay, I had to peek. Love this. I didn’t know unqualified teenager’s editing the Wikipedia were “the interactive media elite”. Too funny.)

via the neoglam blog