This week Jaron Lanier — composer, performer, computer scientist, philosopher and pioneer of virtual reality — gets seriously sceptical about somebody a lot of people think of as a hero: Julian Assange. The Internet, according to Lanier, was influenced in equal degrees by 1960s romanticism and cold war paranoia. If the political world becomes a mirror of the Internet, then the world will be restructured around secretive digital power centres surrounded by a sea of chaotic, underachieving openness. WikiLeaks is such a centre. It’s the world of nerd supremacy.
Tagged with “networks” (2)
The work we’re collectively doing—opening up gradually all of human information and media, making it recombinable, helping people create and share their work—is a huge unspoken, sexy, world-redefining mission.
It’s a mission that many of us have become blasé about, almost unaware of. It’s a project so large that it’s hard to get a grasp on. And the next few years are going to get even more interesting as the network pervades physical objects and environments, sensing and manifesting information in the real world.
It’s time to recognise the scale of the project we have in front of us, the breadth of the material we have to work with, and the possibilities of design within it. All of human knowledge, creativity—even the planet itself—is our canvas.
Tom Coates is a technologist and writer, focused on the shape of the web to come and on developing new concepts that thrive in it. He’s worked for many prominent web companies including Time Out, the BBC and Yahoo! where he was Head of Product for the Brickhouse innovation team. He’s most known for the Fire Eagle location-sharing service, and for his work on social software, future media and the web of data.