[iDC] Response to Weinberger's excerpts

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 10 02:47:21 EDT 2007


> PBH:
> Not all people WANT to take control of sorting, filtering, etc.
> ONE reason we have experts is because they get something out of the
> power hierarchy,
> but the OTHER reason we have experts is because many people have other
> priorities.
> This is why we have grocery stores. :-)

I think it is useful to distinguish low and high treshold activities here.
The evidence is that people do universally like to organize their own
information (and physical) space, they did it at home, and they now can do
it digitally. The very widespread adoption of tagging would show this to be
the case. Organizing information and organizing one's life is pretty much
the same activity, so it is unlikely that this kind of activitiy is
externalized. I think the only barrier is cognitive, but a quick look at
most tags shows it to be a cognitively low-grade activity.

But in any case, the explosion of information objects just precludes any
prior categorisation of knowledge, and the loss of control over the means of
doing this (anybody can tag his own info given basic access to ICT), insures
that the old way of one-framework organizing monopolies are becoming
minority options.

> DW:
> Control has already changed hands. The new rules of the information
> jungle are in effect, transforming the landscape in which we work, buy,
> learn, vote and play.
> PBH:
> History contains numerous examples of hierarchies imposing an order
> that is rejected by the populace as circumstances change.  The
> difference is that now people have ease of access to alternative (and
> fast) ways of re-ordering knowledge.  As Lessig points out (again and
> again), there is NO justification for expecting that that freedom of
> access will continue.   I have no problems visualizing something like
> del.icio.us becoming illegal.  Whether it actually happens or not
> depends a lot on the apathy or engagement of a populace.

This is extremely unlikely because of the asymmetric competition between
existing power actors who refuse the new productive enhancements, and the
ones that accept it.

The laws of asymmetric competion:

1) in the case of any for-profit company faced with a for-benefit
institution and community, the latter will tend to win out

2) in the case of 2 profit corporations the ones adopting open,
participatory, or commons oriented strategies will tend to win out

Because it is so extremely useful, it is extremely unlikely that tagging
will be made illegal. More realistically, we will see a universalising of
the practice.

However this does not mean, as Ryan Shaw showed, that power is absent, but
it is present in different ways, through the invisible architecture of the
design, through a posteriori censorship of certain tags and objects perhaps
(as China and other countries are practicing)
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