tyrants tremble, media cartels disintegrate, and collaborative castles rise in the air

sure thing bro.

Weinberger is careful to assign the above titular mentality to a caricature of technodeterminism, or technological optimism. Through that statement, among others, he carefully positions himself as a techno-realist. It seems from “Too Big to Know,” however, that the internet and the new ecology of knowledge it is creating is so potent that even techno-realists are a little too naively optimistic for me.

For example when Weinberger says, “There was a time when we thought we were doing the common folk a favor by keeping the important knowledge out of their reach, (p. 179)” it seems the implication is that we are no longer keeping important knowledge out of the reach of common folk. He cites the persecution of John Wycliffe for his attempt to vulgarize the bible into English. Perhaps we are not so overtly denying the common folk access to information but denying them we still are, only through the more insidious means of institutional and systemic depravity and abject-eductionlessness.

Though perhaps not unaware of it himself, Weinberger’s text seems to lose sight of the important distinction between the Nets capacity for information democratization and its actuality.

When Weinberger says that the “new medium of knowledge . . . can’t keep information, communication, and sociality apart, (181)” he neglects to mention who, exactly, composes this new social community.

That community is still overwhelmingly male. According to the United Nations Broadband Commission Working Group, 200 million more men have access to the internet than women.

That community is still composed most entirely of the people of the Global North (the major exception being only China which, of course, due to the restrictions of its censoring system, does not genuinely participate in the knowledge ecosystem). Just take a look at this hexadesic cartogram. When looking at this graphic keep in mind that 85% of the world’s population lives in the Global Southinternet population and penetration

 

The internet is mostly in English. So if you don’t speak it, sorry, this new and revolutionary “global” knowledge generation and dissemination community is not for you.

internetlanguage

The internet is also young, very young, accord to Pew Research Center. Which some people might consider a good thing, but I for one, American domestic politics and religion aside, bemoan the loss of entire generations worth of insight and perspective from the Net.

[[here are my notes from chapters 7-9]]

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