On "Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism"

Links : Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism By Jaron Lanier at Edge.org

The hive mind is for the most part stupid and boring. Why pay attention to it?

The problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of 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.

Very thought provoking and revealing essay. To my amazement, the collective knowledge is a trap. First, due to lack of authenticity, personality and authority over the content that is being written at Wiki. Second, most of the content written in wiki is compiled from other sources, mostly available on the web itself, by a person who may not have any authority on the content, what so ever.  Another problem is with the search engines' logic to put wiki first than the original document in the search results, because they also follow 'popular' link route than 'original' link route.

So while wiki can help as a compilation and thus might save your time going through all the web pages and books to understand some thing, it misses the authenticity and authority of the content.  You are therefore at your own risk to use the content at wiki or any collective space on the web for that matter.  

Factual statements and reporting is okay, but when it is about an opinion, position or an argument, such an expression is completely faceless.

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rajAT said…
Hi Murali,

Jaron is wrong on many counts. First and foremost is that collective action is not collectivism. I have blogged about it here -



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