Thursday, June 12, 2008

NY Times Week in Review: The Ethos of the Net

From an excellent article in the New York Times, "The Wiki-Way to the Nomination," Sunday Edition (June 8, 2008), by Noam Cohen, here are some insightful observations about the ethos of the Net, and how it's shaping the way we see the world.

Philosophical quotations:

"But at the same time, Mr. Obama's notion of persistent improvement, both of himself and his country, reflects something newer--the collaborative, decentralized principles behind Net projects like Wikipedia and the 'free and open-source' software movement. The qualities he cited to Time to describe his campaign--'openness and transparency and participation'--were ones he said 'merged perfectly' with the Internet. And they may well be the qualities that make him the first real 'wiki-candidate.'

"In this scheme, Mr. Obama's role, at least in rhetoric, is less leader than facilitator, a conduit for decentralized collaboration as described by James Surowiecki in his book 'The Wisdom of Crowds.' 'The ethos of the Net is fundamentally respectful of and invested in the idea of collective wisdom, and in some sense is hostile to the idea that power and authority should belong to a select few,' Mr. Surowiecki wrote.

(bold mine)

Link to the Article



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