Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Lanier and others published Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism }. In his article “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism” Jaron. Lanier takes a hard look at collectivism and collective action as it relates to. A cautionary inquiry into the unchecked hive mind.

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Evolution isn’t blind voting. I’m not actually sure there is anyone who genuinely holds this hyperbolic a version of this view.

As I take it, the substance of his point is that the aggregate views expressed by the collective are actually more valuable, in some sense, than anything produced by people designated as “experts” or “authorities. At our level, it may appear as dumb as American Idol, or as pointless as a nervous twitch that corrects and uncorrects Jaron Lanier’s Wikipedia thhe in an endless loop.

Without a reality “out there,” independent of us, that we can be right or wrong about, there is no way to justify placing some “experts” above the rest of us in terms of the reliability of their claims.

There are certain types of answers that ought not be provided by an individual. And the ranking systems that are aggregated all display different content, suggesting real subtleties in the interplay of algorithm and audience, rather than a homogenizing hive mind at work.

Article/Review: Digital Maoism, by Jaron Lanier

On ” Digital Maoism: Collective action involves freely chosen self-election collecivism is almost always coincident with self-interest and distributed coordination; collectivism involves coercion and centralized control; treating the Hazardx as a commons doesn’t mean it is communist tell that to Bezos, Yang, Filo, Brin or Page, to name just a few billionaires who managed to scrape together private property from the Internet commons.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. By Kevin Kelly Paperback []. Lanier calls attention to the “so-called ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and the race to erase personality and be most Meta. Then came the blogs, which varied greatly in terms of quality and importance. Biographies of living persons” page specifically warns that seeming vandalism of the biography of a living person might be thee the subject him or herself, inexperienced with Wikipedia editing procedure.


Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism – Wikipedia

But this collectivism is inherent neither in tools, such as wikis, nor in methods, such as collaboration and aggregation. Many individuals have achieved a higher authoritative status based on their merits, well-meaning individuals that guide and assist others of the community.

Only direct democracy assumes that onlien can make real factual decisions, and direct democracy is not very common. As below, so above.

Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism (

The collective rises around us in multifarious ways. Think about that a bit. Our internal BS meters already work, but they’ve fallen into a low and sad level of use in the Big Media world. Its informal membership includes of some of the most interesting minds in the world.

It is the polar opposite of Maoism. If the code that ran the Wikipedia user interface were as open as the contents of the entries, it would churn itself into impenetrable muck almost immediately.

Then came Google, which added page rank algorithms.

His concern, that the aggregative role played by the many sites that are about sites is overstated. It is not the only hive mind out there.

Possibly a third thing is happening, as maoksm poorly understood. If wikis are to gain any more influence they ought to be improved by mechanisms bazards the ones that have worked tolerably well in the pre-Internet world. Lanier brings up the specter of Maoism, but let’s take a look at the authorial crowd in action on the “Jaron Lanier” talk page. Clicking on the “history” tab of the article shows that a reader — identified only by an anonymous IP address — inserted a series of increasingly frustrated complaints into the body of the article.

There’s a bottom to the bottom. How Being Great at Collecyivism It is this publicly available maojsm and meta-structure that truly distinguish Wikipedia from algorithmic or market-based aggregation. The calming effect of orderly democracy achieves more than just the smoothing out of peripatetic struggles for consensus. The Wikipedia has recently slapped a crude low pass filter on the jitteriest entries, such as “President George W. Comments from friends and others would be just as important as the original material being commented on; Keats, say.

Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism () []

However, an aggregated knowledge base contains data beyond the possession of any individual member. We live in times of tremendous uncertainties coupled with infinite liability phobia, and we must function within institutions that are loyal to no executive, much less to any lower onllne member. In the real world it is easy to not direct films. Hazxrds 15, and 20, people have accessed the book electronically, with some of them adding comments and links to the online version. For instance, it has become notoriously difficult to introduce a new pop star in the music business.


When a government bureaucrat sets a price, for instance, the result is often od to the answer that would come from a reasonably informed collective that is reasonably free of manipulation or runaway internal resonances. But if we ignore the hive mind altogether, that is even stupider. Here I must take a moment to comment on Linux and similar efforts.

We have to have error if Columbus is ever to sail off for India, so finding America, colkectivism if Leibniz is to misunderstand the I Ching, thereby exploring binary math. The criticism is then directed instead at people proclaiming Wikipedia as an avatar of a golden era of collective onlin.

Another example of the slow hive problem: Epistemologists have a term, positive epistemic status, for the positive features that can attach to beliefs; so truth, knowledge, justification, evidence, and various other terms are all names for various kinds of positive epistemic status.

The pre-Internet world provides some great examples of how personality-based quality control can improve collective intelligence. We on,ine out nobly to make TV into an educational medium.

This is where the use of the Internet crosses the line into delusion. It seems to me the reason is that bad old ideas look confusingly fresh when they are packaged as technology. We are too impatient. But if the hive mind is so dumb, why bother with it at all?

In short, it is hard to claim that Wikipedia is built by an anonymous, mindless mob engaged in foolish collectivism.