AI and VR expert, Jaron Lanier, has written an interesting critique of Wikipedia and the hive mind for Edge. The article is noteworthy and thought provoking, but even more interesting are the responses from the likes of Wikipedia creator, Jimmy Wales, Kevin Kelly, and the always insightful Cory Doctorow.
Cory writes that collectivism isn’t the issue. Wikipedia is about decentralizing the control of information:
you need to convince a gatekeeper that your contribution is worthy
before you’re allowed to make it, you’d better hope the gatekeeper
has superhuman prescience. (Gatekeepers don’t have superhuman
prescience.) Historically, the best way to keep the important
things rolling off the lines is to reduce the barriers
to entry. Important things are a fraction of all things,
and therefore, the more things you have, the more important
As usual, Cory hits the nail on the head. This is the perfect response to those who say there are “too many podcasts” or the Internet is “too huge.” The point of Wikipedia is that there is no gatekeeper. Don’t confuse it with Britannica; it’s a miracle all on its own.