Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The amorality of Web 2.0

At lunch today my friend David Jeffress and I were discussing the implications of blogging, Wikipedia and other technologies that allow the disemination of information without any kind of centralized editorial authority. David had the insight that something like a neural network was in play; information that seems valid is amplified by multiple links and connections, and information deemed incorrect is changed or since it has fewer links, is ignored. The danger here is when the things which everyone knows to be true - aren't. Wouldn't such errors be reinforced?

We aren't the only ones thinking along these lines. In Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The amorality of Web 2.0 the author first discusses some of the "New Age" spiritual ideas that the participation, collectivism, virtual communities, and amateurism made possible by the Wiki, blogging and such are invariably Good Things. Then, he shoots it all down with the message that it still just an amoral set of technologies that can be used for good or evil - and since people haven't changed, it will be used for both. It's thought-provoking stuff.

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