Friday, August 19, 2005

I hear they have the Internet on computers now

Over at Wired Kevin Kelly mocks those who made predictions about the Internet in 1995--and then launches his own about how it will be in 2015. He also says:

"The Netscape IPO wasn't really about dot-commerce. At its heart was a new cultural force based on mass collaboration. Blogs, Wikipedia, open source, peer-to-peer - behold the power of the people."

Now, the Internet definitely has some Democratic aspects to it. Reviews, Wikipedia, blogging, Ebay--they level the playing field for users. I just don't share Kelly's optimism about the transformative power of the net--only 1/7 of the world's people are online, and though I can blog or buy a cheap book or podcast, I still can't click a button and bring down a tyrannical regime (though some people are trying). Now, am I saying that our amazing google-y powers don't help or don't make the march of democracy easier? Not at all--they certainly do. But do they make democracy inevitable? No.

Thoughts?

Maybe we'll get away from arguing about Iraq. Then again, maybe not.

standingoutinthecold: I like Colorado.
charlespeirce: Quite justifying the Iraq war.
standingoutinthecold: Why do you hate America and her Christian God, you terrorist-loving liberal?

1 Comments:

At 8:44 AM, Blogger J. Morgan Caler said...

I don’t think this article is about democracy proper; only a cultural democracy between creators, providers, and users. Nonetheless, I just wanted to make an observation:

“I just don't share Kelly's optimism about the transformative power of the net--only 1/7 of the world's people are online, and though I can blog or buy a cheap book or podcast, I still can't click a button and bring down a tyrannical regime (though some people are trying).”

And 300 years ago you couldn’t open a book to bring down a tyrannical regime, but it helped a lot, despite the fact that far less than 1/7th of the world had access to them. As you said, nothing in inevitable here, but certain things are more likely in the face of egalitarian communication and knowledge access. And, as I would like to point out, it isn’t how many people are participating, only what sort of people. Just a caveat...

 

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