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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The top-down design part woven deep within by Jimmy Wales and associates has allowed the Wikipedia to be smarter than pure dumb evolution would allow in a few years.

The hive mind can be on the right track, but moving too slowly. In biological natural selection, the prime architect is death. You can be superficially interesting without having to worry about the possibility of being wrong. While the tags adorning Flickr photographs may never constitute an independently functioning intelligence, they do allow people to participate diyital something bigger than themselves, and foster a greater understanding of the benefits of collective action.

Here is a quick pass at where I think the boundary between effective collective thought and nonsense lies: I agree that new notions about collective intelligence and peer production should be viewed critically and not embraced in a spirit of magical thinking — but I find it strange that someone as educated as Jaron should fall into the same simple fallacy the Cato Institute fell for: As long as critiques of Wikipedia’s processes haxards at the article level, they will continue to miss the hazafds.


Anyone who claims that they have found transcendent wisdom in the pattern emerging from how people spend their scarce resources is a follower of Milton Friedman, not of Chairman Mao. In April, Kelly reviewed a site called “popurls” that aggregates consensus Web filtering sites Lanier has too sanguine a view of markets and governments. This can lead to a rigid and slow adapting organization, which would eventually cause haxards end of it.

Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism (

What I’ve seen is a loss of insight and subtlety, a disregard for the nuances of considered opinions, and an increased tendency to enshrine the official or normative beliefs of an organization.

Jaron Lanier contends with several ideas at once. The “individual” Vigital would have govern the collective is itself a social construction born in the Renaissance, celebrated via democracy in the Enlightenment and since devolved into the competition, consumption, and consumerism we endure today. In an essay posted May 30th, Digital Maoism: In fact a close inspection of Wikipedia’s process reveals that it has an elite og its center, and that it does collectivismm a center is news to mostand that there is far more deliberate design management going on than first appears.

Jaron Lanier raises important points about collectivism, yet the barbs thrown at Wikipedia seem misplaced. What are the points of agreement? I associate it in addition with China, socialism, censorship, centralized control and mind-wash due to lack of perspectives.

CPOV | Response to Jaron Lanier’s Digital Maoism

Its informal membership includes of some of the most interesting minds in the world. Wonder how that worked out for them. The criticism is then directed instead at people proclaiming Wikipedia as an avatar of a golden era of collective consciousness.


The reverse problem can also appear. But his argument that online collectivism produces artificial stupidity offers no reassurance to me. An individual or individuals were presenting a personality and taking responsibility.

The hope seems to be that the most Meta site will become the mother of all bottlenecks and receive infinite funding. Reading Wikipedia like Wikipedia is mind-opening. It is not that the group is smarter, it is that in the enw sample, we may find individuals with the desired knowledge on a given subject area.

Response to Jaron Lanier’s Digital Maoism

This is an example of the special kind of intelligence offered by a collective. The collective, as such, is never smarter.

A voice should be sensed as a whole. This is where I think we begin to part ways. The hive mind ain’t what it used to be Jaron Lanier raises important points about collectivism, yet the barbs thrown at Wikipedia seem misplaced. The question of new business models for content creators on the Internet is a profound and difficult topic in itself, but it must at least be pointed out that writing professionally and well takes time and that most authors need to be paid to take that time.

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