No doubt you have heard the phrase "the wisdom of the crowds" to describe why blogland tends to be self-correcting, or why Wikipedia is accurate most of the time. That raises a question: Does the madness of the mob become the wisdom of the crowd when you give everyone a laptop?
Derek Hawkins today will discuss the ideas of the computer scientist Jaron Lanier (left), who has cast a dubious eye on the online collective. Here is an essay that Lanier wrote for Time magazine in December 2006. It's a quick read. If you'd like to dig deeper, Lanier explains his views more fully in a piece titled "Digital Maoism."