TED Conversations

David Wees

Mathematics Teacher, Stratford Hall

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Is the current direction of the web Democratic?

While I agree with Roger that his vision of the future of the web is where we are headed, I would like to argue that it is wholly unDemocratic. The control panel version of the Internet is disturbing, because it seems to me that we have become willing to sacrifice the ability to control what we view and interact with for the convenience of other people making that decision for us.

Facebook and Google's algorithms to filter what we view based on our preferences means that, through the algorithms they have written, corporations have more control over the information we receive than ever before. The definition of fascist corporatism (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatism#Fascist_corporatism) is "management of sectors of the economy by government or private organizations." In an information technology age, management of information is management of the economy, and we are letting private corporations manage entirely too much of our information.

We know where the road of fascism leads us. We need to take a step back from that road and find a new path.


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    Dec 7 2011: It is the greatest invention ever to spread democratic freedom of expression. True, search engines have their own biases, and tonnes of illegal content are online, but at its very core, the Internet has done a great job by tearing down the primeval forces that hinder communication: Race, Age, Gender. For example, if an intelligent kid poses a mature comment, it would even be treated with equal regard as if it came from an adult. Censorship will always exist to restrain the excesses of mankind, so in that sense, the direction will never be fully democratic, and perhaps rightly so.

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