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Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Lanier and others published Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism }. In his article “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism” Jaron. Lanier takes a hard look at collectivism and collective action as it relates to. A cautionary inquiry into the unchecked hive mind.

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Later in this essay I’ll point out what constraints make a collective smart. Then came Google, which added page rank algorithms. Then came AltaVista, where one could search using an inverted database of the content of the whole Web. Is the way the Wikipedia authored a guide to the way many new things might be created?

In all these cases, it seems to me that empirical evidence has yielded mixed results.

There’s a frantic race taking place online to become the most “Meta” site, to be the highest level aggregator, subsuming the identity of all other sites”.

This visible process can illuminate the intellectual liveliness of topics that may seem like dry fact to the casual reader.

It may be equally heretical but not to this group hazardw suggest that the hive mind will write far more of our textbooks, and databases and news than anyone might believe right now.

They are a desocialized society’s first baby steps toward acting together with more intelligence than people can alone. Like a popular saying states: What is successful filtering? But placed out of context in the Wikipedia, it becomes drivel. Possibly a third thing is happening, as yet poorly understood.

Then came the blogs, collectivusm varied greatly in terms of quality and importance. Nor do we have any particular faith in collectives or collectivism as a mode of writing.

Article/Review: Digital Maoism, by Jaron Lanier – imaginary magnitude

Meanwhile, an individual best achieves optimal stupidity on those rare occasions when one is both given substantial powers and insulated from the results of his or her actions. In each case, there’s a presumption that something like a distinct kin to individual human intelligence is either about to appear any minute, or has already appeared. Insurance rates would climb, and so on. First off, we can’t go on pretending that even our favorite disintermediation efforts are revolutions in any real sense of the word.


This is why Wikipedia has worked in such a short time.

Kevin’s overburdened “hive mind” metaphor notwithstanding, a networked collaboration is not an absolutely level playing field inhabited by drones. Lanier argues that the search for deeper information in any area sooner or later requires that you find information that has been produced by a single person, or a few devoted individuals: You Are Not a Gadget: The second strikes me as more superficial, or at least as more time- and space-bound. Hazares Jun 15, Trying to change your own plane tickets stinks.

What’s bew than that?

Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism

This is most clearly occurring in books. Lanier uses this term, but does not define it. Then came AltaVista, where one could search using an inverted database of the content of the whole Web. Even so, the collective is nowhere near being able to compose a symphony or write a novel — media whose very purpose is to explode the boundaries between the individual creator and his audience.

The people he assembled, a “who’s who” of the movers, shakers, and pundits of this new universe of collective intelligence, of the “hive mind”, have written essays that are at hazardz unfailingly interesting, maddening, thought-provoking, depressing, and a window not to the future but to where we are today.

In March, Kelly reviewed a variety of “Consensus Web filters” such as “Digg” and “Reddit” that assemble material every day from all the myriad of other aggregating sites.

Here I must take a moment to collectivksm on Linux and similar efforts. And in most cases, these reputations have been won through a process much closer to meritocracy, and through a fairer set of filters, than the ones through which we earn our graduate degrees.


I don’t see why there couldn’t be future social disasters that appear suddenly under the cover of technological utopianism. For better or worse, the Wikipedia now represents smart chaos, or bottom up power, or decentralized being, or out of control goodness, or what I seemed to have called for the lack of a better term: In short, it’s an argument for the mindful intervention of individuals in the growth and acceleration of this hive-mind thing called collective intelligence.

Response to Jaron Lanier’s Digital Maoism

Who else would volunteer to pay that much attention and do all that work? The bottom-up hive mind will always take us much further that seems possible.

Still, what you saw so clearly hazarvs the beginning is that the beauty of the Internet is its ability to connect people to one another. First, Lanier acknowledges that decentralized production can be effective at certain tasks. Hurray for Myspace on that count! Futhermore, I know it is heresy, but it might be that the Wikipedia model is not good for very much more than writing universal encyclopedias.

My response is quite simple: This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. The phenomenon is real, and immensely useful.

Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism by Jaron Lanier · Longform

ne The tenure system and many other aspects of the academy are designed to support the idea that individual scholars matter, not just the process or the collective. Biographies of living persons” page specifically warns that seeming vandalism of the biography of a living person might be by the subject him or herself, inexperienced with Wikipedia editing procedure.

But this collectivism is inherent neither in tools, such as wikis, nor in methods, such as collaboration and aggregation.