Jaron Lanier on Digital Maoism: interesting thoughts about Wikipedia and related site

Jaron is a brilliant thinker (and an amazing piano player as well) Anything he writes is interesting. In this case he seems to be worrying about how much credence is being given to knowledge in Wikipedia and related types of sites. I don't know if I agree with him, but it is a great read!

Jaron worries about: "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" (from Edge)

There are several rebuttals or comments by other big brains; I haven't gotten around to reading those yet.

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Posted on June 23, 2006 and filed under Life, Technology.