Sunday, March 28, 2010
Big Brothers Is Watching You
OK. Speaking of predictions. Jesus, or somebody, said the Internet was going to create a jolly wonderful world of interconnected, global democracy. The wisdom of crowds, hallelujah. Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody" lists many examples of this. But he also stresses the importance of culture. I.e. it ain't just the tools that matter. A screwdriver heals in the hands of Hank Hill. In Bernard Goetz' hands, it might wind up in your skull.
So, Wikipedia is an example of self-correcting, self-emerging information based on a neural net of committed users. By the same token, a Wikipedia based on the shared philosophy of destroying Wikipedia is impossible.
I submit that the Internet is destroying the operating system of democracy. To be more precise, it's destroying the operating system of representative democracy in the United States.
I could offer specific examples, but that's too much like work. So I'll stick with analogy.
I am, for what it's worth, creative. In my brief experience in the cubicle world, I got my work done by an act of subterfuge. I could never really explain what I was doing to my Type A bosses. So I'd come up with a cover story. They were always convinced if I was more organized and didn't waste so much paper, I'd do a better job. They would go through my !@#$ trash to see if I was making too many photocopies. My response was to hide my trash.
I was fiercely proud about what I did. But I could never explain HOW I did it. My style of working was to hide my style of working. I'd be pursued by relentless micromanagers trying to nail me for wasting company resources. I got results. They didn't give a fuck. I WASN'T FOLLOWING PROCEDURE. And they lived for the day they could nail me for violating procedure and make my sorry ass hit the gate.
The more they supervised me, the worse my work became.
I think the same thing is happening to today's politicians. They've got a million Big Brothers going through their trash and they can't get anything done.