January 15, 2010 8:31 AM PST

A rebel in cyberspace, fighting collectivism

book review An impassioned argument about the downside of online collectivism and Web 2.0 culture from the Silicon Valley veteran Jaron Lanier.
(From The New York Times)

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Very thought provoking. I think I'm going to have to get this book.
Posted by bj1126 (170 comments )
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I agree with these points: as public conversation migrated digital media, signal-to-noise ratio has deteriorated to a disturbing level.

In the days when print media was the dominant communication medium, the name and identity as a writer was important by most readers, and most writers took care to build up trust and integrity associated with that name. (There were troublemakers too, but not as vocal or prevalent.)

I guess I'll have to pick up the book to see if the author has any suggestions to address the 'digital mob' problem. But it's unclear to me at this point what the path is to establish any sort of honor and reputation in our current digital public conversation. People have tasted anonymity, and they like it. We would probably choose to reject traceability and identity verification, even if the technology could provide them.
Posted by SkepticalOptimist (51 comments )
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Well stated. The issue of "trust" has been circumvented by Web 2.0 technologies, as aggregators and other tools have supplanted formerly trusted sources of information with amalgamations of "the mob", with little or no vetting for accuracy, applicability, or rationality. I may not be a particularly big fan of the Fourth Estate, but at least journalistic integrity before Web 2.0 provided some degree of trust.

No doubt, Web 2.0 has given us a lot of capability that will last well into the future. Eventually however, I think, people will become flustered with the idea of collectivized ideas, and will start to migrate back to authenticity in the form of trusted/respected sources of media -- whether it's a respected author, or a media outlet. For the time being, however, we're relegated to digging through a whole lot of drivel to find a nugget of wisdom.
Posted by phylum--2008 (29 comments )
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