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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Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism () []

I believe Lanier confuses the common goal of trying to create an encyclopedia with a dangerous mob of brain-washed individuals. Collective action involves freely chosen self-election which is almost always coincident with self-interest and distributed coordination; collectivism involves coercion and centralized control; treating the Digitwl as a commons doesn’t mean it is communist tell that to Bezos, Yang, Filo, Brin or Page, to name just a few billionaires who managed to scrape together private property from the Internet commons.

Nonetheless, an important article to read. In short, it is hard to claim that Wikipedia is built by an anonymous, mindless mob engaged in foolish collectivism. The central problem that he sees in Wikipedia is not the experiment itself, but its rapid growth in size and importance.

It also needs entrepreneurs to come up with the products that are competing in the knline place. Certain people — designated “experts” — sit together to design something that is supposed to be coherent.

Response to Jaron Lanier’s Digital Maoism

Honestly, the loudest outcry over our Internet culture’s inclination towards re-framing and the “meta” tend to come digitap those with the most to lose in a society where “credit” is no longer a paramount concern.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is that Wikipedia already had guidelines to cover this situation.

They represent a new solution space to a set of information production problems that we need to experiment with, learn, and develop; but which offers a genuinely alternative form of production than markets, firms, or governments, and as such an uncorrelated or diverse system of action in the information environment.

Kids with computers sample and recombine music because computers are particularly good at that — while not so very good as performance instruments. Posted Jun 13, Take the talk page for “denotational semantics. Wikipedia presents a new and different system of information production and distribution, which in many cases shows different perspectives on the same topic.


In either case, his lot is with those of us who see the emergence of social production and peer production as an alternative to both state-based and market-based, closed, proprietary systems, which can enhance creativity, productivity, and freedom. It works by using a grammar of genetic materials and unfolding proteins; some biologist will correct me here for sure to make changes that are consistent with the whole – i. In fact a close inspection of Wikipedia’s process reveals that it has an elite at its center, and that it does have a center is news to mostand that there is far more deliberate design management going on than first appears.

It’s certainly unclear that collectives will eliminate the culture of celebrity, one of the more woeful primary filters of our time. The fact that it is now compared not to the mainstream commercial encyclopedias like Grollier’s, Encarta, or Columbia, but to the quasi-commercial, quasi-professional gold standard of the Britannica is itself the amazing fact.

It merely produces a snapshot of how they spend their scarce resources: Homeland By Cory Doctorow Hardcover []. Why pay attention to it? His main theme is that a certain kind of collectivism is in the ascendancy, and that’s a terrible thing. There’s a bottom to the bottom. This is the top-down control we insert to speed and direct a system toward our goals.

Personal Web pages do that, as do journals and books. Epistemic collectivism is a real phenomenon; whether they admit it or not, a lot of people do place the views of the collective uppermost. The answer provided by experiments in the pre-Internet world is “yes,” but only provided some signal processing is placed in the loop. Just because the dihital might include a year-old with an Internet connection in no way changes the fact that he’s educated, techno-savvy, and enjoying enough free time to research and post to an encyclopedia for no tue.

When it comes to natural intelligence, Wikipedia, not Britannica, collrctivism the book. I find myself agreeing with Lanier: His criticism aims at several targets which concern him and are at different levels of abstraction:. As Tne Viegas’s work shows, Wikipedia isn’t an experiment in anonymous collectivist creation; it is a specific form of production, with its own bureaucratic logic and processes for maintaining editorial control.


Arguments may win or lose and a consensus argument or belief may arise, but it is structured, and emerges more finely shaped than what mere voting or “collectivism” would have produced. Here is what we see: The aggregator is richer than the aggregated.

The ill-formed and stillborn bird is the other side of species creation. Wikipedia’s visible, trackable edit history. Log in to post comments Digital Maoism: But, as Lanier collectivsm out, that does not mean that all collectives are intelligent. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force.

I’ll just be short, since I’m too busy reading hive-mind output: It proves the dumb thing nnew smarter than we think. A Catalog of Possibilities.

By Clay Shirky Hardcover []. For instance, there’s a demonstrative ritual often presented to incoming students at business schools. The hive mind ain’t what it used to be Jaron Lanier raises important points about collectivism, yet the barbs thrown at Wikipedia seem misplaced.

CPOV | Response to Jaron Lanier’s Digital Maoism

The hive mind should be thought of as a tool. We now are reading what a collectivity algorithm derives from what other collectivity algorithms derived from what collectives chose from what a population of mostly amateur writers wrote anonymously.

With so much information at hand, what should we consume? Haaards ten years now, it’s been apparent that the rise of the digital was providing enormous new powers for the individual. Wikipedia might be a great place to start a bit or research, but the old warning about nails and hammers applies. There is a lot of history to this topic, and varied disciplines have lots to say.

If you suffice yourself with the actual Wikipedia entries, they can be a little papery, sure.