June 05, 2006

In support of gratuitous place holding posts

Recently The Edge posted an essay by one of the pioneers of virtual reality, Jaron Lanier. The essay raises some outstanding questions regarding the new "online collectivism" and services that have evolved into full-on movements such as Wikipedia.

I find myself agreeing with Lanier's point:

No, the problem is [...] the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it's now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn't make it any less dangerous.

It is always refreshing to read reasoned, clear thinking in this day and age of zealotry on all fronts. To that end, I would also suggest Steven Pinker's book, "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature". It's not an easy read, but it is absolutely full to the bindings of well thought out, reasoned arguments.

Posted by MRN aka "The Husband" at June 5, 2006 03:38 PM | TrackBack
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