bruce sterling on web 2.0

From a generally hilarious and confusingly insightful speech:

“Tagging not taxonomy.” Okay, I love folksonomy, but I don’t think it’s gone very far. There have been books written about how ambient searchability through folksonomy destroys the need for any solid taxonomy. Not really. The reality is that we don’t have a choice, because we have no conceivable taxonomy that can catalog the avalanche of stuff on the Web. We have no army of human clerks remotely able to tackle that work. We don’t even have permanent reference sites where we can put data so that we can taxonomize it.

Seriously, it’s hilariously insightfully cynically hilarious, go read it. There’s a lot in it, all over the place, bursting lots of bubbles worth bursting. This was just one small gem particular related to what we talk about.

He ends up talking about what really matters, which is NOT what we, this community of library and internet geeks,  genrally spend most of our time talking about, which is kind of depressing.

Are there some non-financial structures that are less predatory and unstable than this radically out-of-kilter invisible hand? The invisible hand is gonna strangle us! Everybody’s got a hand out — how about offering people some visible hands?

Not every Internet address was a dotcom. In fact, dotcoms showed up pretty late in the day, and they were not exactly welcome. There were dot-orgs, dot edus, dot nets, dot govs, and dot localities.

Once upon a time there were lots of social enterprises that lived outside the market; social movements, political parties, mutual aid societies, philanthropies. Churches, criminal organizations — you’re bound to see plenty of both of those in a transition… Labor unions… not little ones, but big ones like Solidarity in Poland; dissident organizations, not hobby activists,
big dissent, like Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia.

[…]

Market failures have blown holes in civil society. The Greenhouse Effect is a market failure. The American health system is a market failure — and most other people’s health systems don’t make much commercial sense. Education is a loss leader and the university thing is a mess.

Income disparities are insane. The banker aristocracy is in hysterical depression. Housing is in wreckage; the market has given us white-collar homeless and a million empty buildings.

The energy market is completely freakish. If you have no fossil fuels, you shiver in the dark. If you do have them, your economy is completely unstable, your government is corrupted and people kill you for oil.

The human trafficking situation is crazy. In globalization people just evaporate over borders. They emigrate illegally and grab whatever cash they can find. If you don’t export you go broke from trade imbalances. If you do export, you go broke because your trading partners can’t pay you…

Kinda hard to face up to all this, especially when it’s laid out in this very bald fashion.

But you know, I’m not scared by any of this. I regret the suffering, I know its big trouble — but it promises massive change and a massive change was inevitable. The way we ran the world was wrong.

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One Response to bruce sterling on web 2.0

  1. Pingback: Carmichael’s Connundrums » Blog Archive » A Hodge-Podge of Search-related posts relevant to me

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