Joho the Blog » [ahole] Cyberutopianism, technodeterminism, Web exceptionalism

[ahole] Cyberutopianism, technodeterminism, Web exceptionalism

In the spirit of my Be A Bigger A-hole Resolution, here’s a video of my talk at Reboot this summer. It leads to “Is the Web moral” segment, based on a talk I gave at the Drupalcon a few months before.

In it, I claim to be a cyberutopian (gosh the Web is wonderful) and a Web exceptionalist (the Web is way different from what came before), but not a technodeterminist (the exceptional goodness of the Web won’t happen by itself.)

[Later that day:] Ok, fine, if I’m going to stay true to my Resolution: I’m going to be on HubSpot.tv today at 4pm EST, talking mainly about cluetrainy marketing stuff, I think, although I hope we also touch on some other stuff as well. (I think I’m going to start prefacing the titles of this a-holic posts appropriately.)

5 Responses to “[ahole] Cyberutopianism, technodeterminism, Web exceptionalism”

  1. David
    Your Reboot talk was just great. The notion of morality of the Web is of great importance.

    Now, how do you feel about the shadow part of the Web, tha part that is not small, the part where people go to the Web for substitute of violence, perversion, hate, terrorism and all other tragic things.

    My son told me, as an example about Torproject. Contrary to the claims “who uses Tor” on their website, he claims it is mainly used by perverts of all sorts, pedofiles, deviants etc.

    If you analyse what is the content of sites like http://www.4chan.org/ you get the very gloomy picture of human soul that express itself in the sheer evil…

    I do not need to mention here, spam, porno-spam, scam, spying and plain cybercrime.

    You could say – it is as in real life – not realy – in real life we have law enforcement, in Cyber space, we don’t, and we fight not to have it !!!

    How is your notion of moral web when you face it to the dark side of the Web ???

  2. That’s why I am not a technodeterminist, Mirek. The fact (well, hypothesis) that the Web’s architecture mirrors that of morality does NOT mean the Web will be used only or mainly for moral purposes. The Web is an exceptional opportunity. How we use it is up to us, and there’s plenty of depressing evidence out there.

  3. OK, I get you when it comes to (techno)determinism.

    But – if we substract it from the equation – is it realy true that we get Activism on the right side – not the completely blind Neutrality ???

    I guess it is another catchy question – but, in earnest, I still look for more evidences of the intrinsic morality of the web.

    That part of your lecture when you compared hyperlinks and their philosophical implications still needs some elaboration – I was not completely convinced, even though, I’m the first to belive in THE HOPE web brings to the world….

    where shell we go for tips & hints …. ???

  4. Unfortunately, the intrinsic morality of the Web is architectural and thus potential. But you can see it in the overwhelming interest we seem to be showing in each other (literally trillions of links). Yes, many of those links manifest hatred and evil. But not all. That’s why hope is required in the picture: to enable us to use the architecture for good, not hatred and douchebaggery.

  5. Indeed, Emanuel Levinase made experince of THE other, of the other’s face physical perception – the foundation of ethics, and, even of all philosophy….

    In that context, I agree – the true nature of link is to show THE OTHER – the other document, the other object, but also, the other person – as the author of the link target….

    It would be interesting, on some day in the future to explore parallel thoughts between modern moral philosophy (Of Levinas, Buber, Tilich) that stresses I-Thou relations and our Web links…

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