Mush?

I’ve just stumbled across Jaron Lanier’s op ed from the WSJ: World Wide Mush. It’s like a trailer for his new book You are not a gadget.

I found his argument confusing and a bit annoying. He seems to suggest that the mass collaborations made possible by the web will lead to a bland aggregation in which we all lose our personalities. He says

I don’t want our young people aggregated, even by a benevolent social-networking site. I want them to develop as fierce individuals, and to earn their living doing exactly that.

I find that a pretty bizarre and patronising argument – my experience of participating in social networking is that it contributes my individual learning and growth and I don’t feel remotely aggregated.

(See also Caterina’s post on the same topic.)

Hat tip: Open Culture who say

If you think this sounds like Ayn Rand philosophy (see vintage clip) grafted onto tech talk, you’re probably right.

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