Friday, June 27, 2003

Information does not a good world make

This may not be what you want to read first thing in the morning, but it is true. My normally enthusiastic-about-the-possibilities-of-IT friend Adam Greenfield reflects on Internet communications and dares us to prove him wrong:

Show me a case where e-mail or blogs or smart mobs really and unambiguously did bring down a tyrant. Show me a situation in which even one high-school bully was put in their place with the aid of this technology, let alone the pathetic tinhorn strongmen that still ru(i)n so much of this pretty sphere.

I can't, and I won't, not least because information technologies are still designed for, purchased by, and reflected upon by a small elite. (And yes, I'm including myself here.) But even while I agree with him, I think it is perhaps exactly this that keeps me working in my field, using critical social and cultural theory to look more closely at the brave new world of ubiquitous computing that is supposed to make this globe a better place to live.

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