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Critical Computing
Using Computers for Social Awareness and Empowerment

In the real world we can cre­ative­ly rep­re­sent our­selves in dynam­ic ways. So, we can vary our ges­ture, our dis­course, our pos­ture, our fash­ion, life sto­ries, the way we tell our sto­ries. And all of this is with an astound­ing sen­si­tiv­i­ty to social con­text. Computer tech­nolo­gies like com­put­er games, social net­work­ing, and vir­tu­al worlds are much more prim­i­tive than what we do in the real world.

The Conversation #5 — Andrew Keen

We’ve got two para­dox­i­cal trends hap­pen­ing at the same time. The first is what I call in my book the cult of the social,” the idea that on the net­work, every­thing has to be social and that the more you reveal about your­self the bet­ter off you are. So if your friends could know what your musi­cal taste is, where you live, what you’re wear­ing, what you’re think­ing, that’s a good thing, this cult of shar­ing. So that’s one thing that’s going on. And the oth­er thing is an increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal­ized indi­vid­u­al­ism of con­tem­po­rary, par­tic­u­lar­ly dig­i­tal, life. And these things seem to sort of coex­ist, which is para­dox­i­cal and it’s some­thing that I try to make sense of in my book.

From Biomolecular Computing to Internet Democracy

My main point is that Internet tech­nol­o­gy today does not sup­port the right of assem­bly, and there­fore it can­not and does not sup­port democ­ra­cy. The rea­son is that even though we can eas­i­ly form groups on Google, Facebook, you name it, we don’t know who the peo­ple on the group are.

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