on the rise of nerd supremacy

Jaron Lanier uses the wikileaks case to demonstrate the rise of nerd supremacy, raising the concern that large data, coupled with anonymous protocols of behavior will lead to something that is the opposite of human-centered-design. By extension he sees many of the same conceits that bind wikileaks team, or ‘anonymous’, with those from more garden variety technology cultures – he names facebook and google.

…The Wikileaks method punishes a nation — or any human undertaking — that falls short of absolute, total transparency, which is all human undertakings, but perversely rewards an absolute lack of transparency. Thus an iron-shut government doesn’t have leaks to the site, but a mostly-open government does.

If the political world becomes a mirror of the Internet as we know it today, then the world will be restructured around opaque, digitally delineated power centers surrounded by a sea of chaotic, underachieving openness. Wikileaks is one prototype of a digital power center, but others include hedge funds and social networking sites.

This is the world we are headed to, it seems, since people are unable to resist becoming organized according to the digital architectures that connect us. The only way out is to change the architecture.

The Internet as it is, which supports the abilities of Anonymous and Wikileaks, is an outgrowth of a particular design history which was influenced in equal degrees by 1960s romanticism and cold war paranoia. It aligned the two poles of the bit to these two archetypal dramas. But the poles of the bit can be aligned with other things.  The Internet can and must be redesigned to reflect a more moderate and realistically human-centered philosophy.

via The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy: The Case of WikiLeaks – Jaron Lanier – Technology – The Atlantic.

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