Crowds, maddening or wise or ?

I want to thank Cris Crissman about her tweet. It helped me to find Dan Cohen’s blog Digital Humanities and his post about Maddening crowds. The blog post gave me a view which I had missed but could not find alone:

… Nietzsche would have hated Twitter and Wikipedia even more than organized religion. The great champion of the individual will rising above the sheepish masses would have shuddered at what the Internet has given us in the last decade, when the Web became exponentially more social and collaborative.

…every age has its debate about the individual versus the collective, with associated concerns about the place of genius and expertise, but I suspect we are heading into a decade of especially heightened sensitivity over this tension.

Cohen mentions the books critical of the social Web, leading indicators,

  • Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture
  • Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget  and
  • Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.

I love especially this Cohen’s argument, I hope this is true in the future:

Just as the global expansion of fast food begat the slow-food movement, the next decade will see a “slow information” counterrevolution focused on restoring individual thought and creativity.

On the other side will be those who assert that human beings are social and that the Internet is simply enabling the kind of interaction and collaboration we have desired through history of mankind. These arguments are usual in new web world. I should like to believe it is true but I want to keep my eyes open. I do not see this happen. Crowds can help in concrete small problems but how could a crowd become wise? Never seen it happen.

Thanks to Barbara Fillip too about her pondering Carr’s book and the place of deep learning. I have read it many times.

My computer does not make me wise, what does? I recognize one enemy, it is consumerism where the goal of living is to consume things and knowledge and whatever. Freedom to choose , to empower oneself is important. I said this at the beginning of this blog . Empowerment needs knowledge about history, sciences, it is connected to civilization. I have written about expertise but today I understand that I meant civilization, I want to see it here in blogoshere and open discussions etc. Not only new tools and tricks .. am I old-fashioned or ?

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