norayoung.ca | At the Corner of Technology and Culture

Digital Maoism or the Cult of the Individual?

OK, so now that Tod Maffin has linked to my blog I guess I actually have to update ye olde crispermachine more often. Funny, my cat never complained about the dated entries.

I’m hosting The Sunday Edition on CBC Radio for the next few weeks. Tech watchers and budding McLuhanites might want to tune in to this week’s episode. I had the chance to interview tech guru/VR pioneer Jaron Lanier (and now that I’ve had to learn how to pronounce his name correctly, I can stop referring to him as Yaron Lanyay). I wanted to talk to him about the article he wrote on Digital Maoism for edge.org

Both the article itself and the replies/critiques, from a range of media and tech luminaries, are fascinating. I think, in a way, it’s part of a larger conversation we need to start having about the nature of the way the Web is evolving, but also some of the implications of our ‘pastiche culture’. It’s too bad everyone is sick to death of talking about postmodernism in a way, because I think it’s really only now that we’re starting to see some of the implications of it…not as an aesthetic or literary or political theory, but in practical terms, the way that it is shaping the way we create and think.

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There are 3 Comments to "Digital Maoism or the Cult of the Individual?"

  • hugh says:

    just listening now – a MUCH better interview than this one:
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/philosopherszone/stories/2006/1678536.htm

    funny I was just talking to someone yesterday who said, re: digg etc, there is an inverse relationship between the usefulness of “collective intelligence” sites, and the number of people who contribute.

    ie. when a small group of “interesting” people contribute, you get excellent results; but when it becomes the aggregation of everyone’s opinions, it becomes just the same old mushy middle.

    back to lanier: I think most useful as a cautionary warning about the dangers of the maoism.

  • hugh says:

    that is, rather than a reflection of how things actually are right now.

  • Nora3000 says:

    Hey Hugh,

    Yes, I thought the point about these things working best when a small number of engaged people are involved was really apt. Collaboration is a beautiful thing, but it seems to work better when there is some accountability. Glad you liked the interview….

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