tirsdag, desember 11, 2007

dumb and dumber?

Here's a thought:
Internet and blogging make us dumb... and dumber. I have a past as a firm tech-skeptic, but got turned over after living in Tokyo. Technology and in particular Internet has transformed how humans interact and communicate. This year's Nobel Prize winner in literature, Doris Lessing, is not impressed. She believes that it has stalled intelligent dialogue and debate. Commentator and author Andrew Keen has criticized the Web 2.0.-development and the "cult of the amateur", including schmucks like me who blogs for nobody. Mrs. Lessing and Mr. Keen thinks the Internet has spawn a generation of semi-thinking individuals with superficial knowledge of their cultural inheritance.

If anyone cares... I agree and disagree.

Personally, reading books and immerse myself in meaningful intelligent pursuit of knowledge have been increasingly harder after the intertextual multimediality of the web with constant IM, mobile communications etc. On the other hand, it has given me the opportunity to access a global community of information and communication with people with shared interests and shared past through social networks such as Flickr and Facebook. It has given me the opportunity to build knowledge together with others through communities like Wikipedia, and as a teacher I have helped students find an enthusiasm for writing through blogging.

There's a lot of BS out here, and a lot of meaningless gibberish, but that's nothing new in human activity. I'm an optimist, and I believe the likes of Mrs. Lessing and Mr. Keen tend to have valid points, but lack to see the full potential for meaningful discourse and communication through the advances of technology. A, to me, new magazine (printed and an innovative online edition) named Monocle is an example of this. Covering a vast area of topics ranging from politics and culture to architecture and design it has an interesting look at the near future. Have a look!

3 kommentarer:

larskflem sa...

nice thought, mort, thank you for sharing both your's and the other's.

being conscious of one's thoughts and have meanings, i cannot consider a bad thing. if it somehow gets out of hand or proportions is one thing, but criticising others for having opinions and wanting to share them publicly is also dangerous.

i haven't read the two comments yet, but judging from your blog post, i might believe their only reason for concern can come from a sense of lack of overview. if i have a different opinion after reading them, i will come back and comment on that.

internet is fast, internet is huge. and everyone can participate.

i'm happy you are here, mort

Silje sa...

Like you said, there's a lot of bullshit and meaningless gibberish in the world and yes there's nothing new about that - the new thing is perhaps only that all of a sudden we have instant access to all of it, everywhere, anytime. So that it suddenly seems so much worse. So, where previously you had to dig up the bullshit or run into a row of Really Stupid People by accident, now it's being trown in our face on a constant basis, virtually everywhere we look. The difference lies not really in the quality of the public discourse (which I like to think that, at least where decent intelligent people are involved, remain more or less the same), but in the quantity of information available to us - and the quantity of people participating in it.

mortsan sa...

thanks for commenting, guys. i'm particularly interested in this in relation to teaching and teaching about net use. there's a lot of talk about the futility, or the lack of it, when using the web as a fountain of knowledge - real or not.

i agree - internet is a mirror of the tangible world, but definitely more accessible, and surely challenging to navigate in a fruitful way - and participation is definitely an important key to this.

and intelligent discourse has never been a quantity, but rather a question of quality.

so, mrs. lessing - i believe there's lots of bs in books as well, but i keep clear of those and try to seek out the interesting and intelligent ones.