May 30, 2006

Edge 183

(5,700 words)

This EDGE edition available on the EDGE Website at:


DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism [5.30.06]
By Jaron Lanier
An EDGE Original Essay

"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 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."

Read on as Jaron Lanier throws a lit Molotov cocktail down towards Palo Alto from up in the Berkeley Hills...


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