March 25, 2007

Bruce Sterling's Rant

How will the 21st century be different from the 20th? Will it be better?

The history of the last century was traced units of energy: it was all about kilowatts, barrels and megatons.

Maybe the history of the 21st century will be traced in bits. Instead of electrification and automobiles, the 21st century citizen is experiencing internetification and the incredible shrinking computer. But we are just at the start of harnessing the bit. What will be the power politics of the 21st century? What will trigger the wars of the next 50 years?

I found Bruce Sterling's SXSW's rant very entertaining. But I think it also provided a glimmer of insight on our future....

According to Sterling, this whole Internet-media thing right now is like the Cuisinart craze. When you have a new Cuisinart, you start thinking everything should go through the chopper blades. 50 million blogs, some of them must be good? No, actually, not.

He muses on the possible end of journalism as a paying profession, and the new division of the world into markets, government, and a massive information commons. He is worth a listen:

Sterling recommends we all go and read Yochai Benkler's writing on Commons-based peer production. In an unforgettable analysis, Sterling follows Benkler's axioms and concludes that al-Qaeda is actually one of the world's most effective Web 2.0 organizations.

What will the 21st century bring?

Posted by David at March 25, 2007 08:17 AM
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