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16 februari 2010

Leidt Web 2.0 tot een parasitaire economie en beangstigend collectivisme?

Chris Hedges about the must-read book 'You Are Not A Gadget' by Jaron Lanier; Truthdig, February 15, 2010:

Jaron Lanier, the "father of virtual reality technology," in his new book "You Are Not a Gadget," warns us of (...) frightening new collectivism. He notes that the habits imposed by the Internet have reconfigured how we relate to each other. He writes that "Web 2.0," "Open Culture," "Free Software" and the "Long Tail" have become enablers of this new collectivism. He cites Wikipedia, which consciously erases individual voices, and Google Wave[*] as examples of the rise of mass collective thought and mass emotions. Google Wave is a new communication platform that permits users to edit what someone else has said in a conversation when it is displayed as well as allow collaborators to watch each other as they type. Privacy, honesty and self-reflection are instantly obliterated.

[*] Noot 2010: Google heeft inmiddels de stekker getrokken uit Google Wave als 'stand alone'-product; wel zullen sommige elementen wellicht terugkomen in andere producten. Heeft Open Graph van Facebook qua effecten een vergelijkbare 'evolutionaire' potentie als Google Wave? Zie m'n blognotitie: 'Facebook: mensonwaardig of mensvormig?'

Tastes and information on the Internet are determined by the crowd, what Lanier calls the hive mentality. Music, books, journalism, commercials and bits of television shows and movies, along with inane YouTube videos, are thrust onto our screens and into national consciousness because of the statistical analysis of Internet crowd preferences. Lanier says that one of the biggest mistakes he and other computer scientists made when the Internet was developed was allowing contributions to the Internet to go unpaid. He says decisions such as this have now robbed people, especially those who create, of their ability to make a living and ultimately the capacity for dignity. Digital collectivism, he warns, is destroying the dwindling vestiges of authentic creativity and innovation, including journalism, which takes time, investment and self-reflection.(...) The only income left for most of those who create is earned through self-promotion, but as Lanier points out this turns culture into nothing but advertising. It fosters a social ethic in which the capacity for crowd manipulation is more highly valued than truth, beauty or thought.

(...) 'The Web, at the same time it is destroying creative work, is forming anonymous crowds that vent collective rage, intolerance and bigotry. (...) [denk in Nederland aan; K]

(...) Original work on the Internet, as Lanier points out, is "copied, mashed up, anonymized, analyzed, and turned into bricks in someone else's fortress to support an advertising scheme."

(...) "Funding a civilization through advertising is like trying to get nutrition by connecting a tube from one's anus to one's mouth," Lanier says. "The body starts consuming itself. That is what we are doing online". (...) [hetzelfde kan worden gezegd van de totaal verziekte financiële sector, die als een kankergezwel parasiteert op de mondiale geldstromen en een piramidespel behelst waarin 'geld met geld' lijkt te worden gemaakt; K].

(...) "The crowd phenomenon exists, but the hive does not exist," Lanier told me. "All there is, is a crowd phenomenon, which can often be dangerous. To a true believer, which I certainly am not, the hive is like the baby at the end of '2001 Space Odyssey.' It is a super creature that surpasses humanity. To me it is the misinterpretation of the old crowd phenomenon with a digital vibe. It has all the same dangers. A crowd can turn into a mean mob all too easily, as it has throughout human history."

(...) "The Machine Stops," a story published by E.M. Forster in 1909, paints a futuristic world where people are mesmerized by virtual reality. In Forster's dystopia, human beings live in isolated, tiny subterranean rooms, like hives, where they are captivated by instant messages and cinematophoes - machines that project visual images. They cut themselves off from the external world and are absorbed by a bizarre pseudo-reality of voices, sounds, evanescent images and abstract sensations that can be evoked by pressing a few buttons. The access to the world of the Machine, which has replaced the real world with a virtual world, is provided by an omniscient impersonal voice.'

Read full column at!

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He writes a regular column for TruthDig every Monday. His latest book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Zie ook:

Boeiend interview met Jaron Lanier op
Citaat: 'The original turn of phrase was "Information wants to be free." And the problem with that is that it anthropomorphizes information. Information doesn’t deserve to be free. It is an abstract tool; a useful fantasy, a nothing. It is nonexistent until and unless a person experiences it in a useful way. What we have done in the last decade is give information more rights than are given to people.
(...) The idea that information is alive in its own right is a metaphysical claim made by people who hope to become immortal by being uploaded into a computer someday. It is part of what should be understood as a new religion. That might sound like an extreme claim, but go visit any computer science lab and you’ll find books about "the Singularity," which is the supposed future event when the blessed uploading is to take place. A weird cult in the world of technology has done damage to culture at large.'

Recensie door blogger Yassine Salihine op

Vraag van 2010 op 'World Question Center' Edge: How is the internet changing the way you think?

Chris Hedges on the Corporatocracy (video) 
'Hervorming auteursrechten onvermijdelijk' (artikel op over de opkomst van de Zweedse Piratenpartij)

Toevoeging december 2011:

Why Kids - and Adults - Need More Solitude
Door Alice Karekezi, Salon / Alternet, 29 december 2011

En m'n blognotities:
Facebook: mensonwaardig of mensvormig?
Piraat Femke Halsema verklaart auteursrechten vogelvrij
De geboorte van de Homo Googlens
The Terrifying Future of Computing
Twitter: hersenloos collectief denken?
Bedrijven in de VS krijgen financieel ongelimiteerde greep op de democratie
Google Wave: de volgende stap naar metabewustzijn?Coolpolitics en Volksempfinden

Foto's van onder naar boven:
cover van You Are Not A Gadget;

deel reclameposter van het Nederlandse tijdschrift Quest
Jaron Lanier;

Chris Hedges.

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