i have argued for many years that the internet was going to disrupt our social fabric as much as the printing press. I relish the openness and shared responsibility that I believe it makes possible. I don’t however believe that success is inevitable and a peaceful future relies on all of us taking a greater responsibility for our thoughts and our dealings with each other. This will mean more people thinking hard about what they think, being prepared to say what they think, and listening intently and with an attitude of tolerance to what other people think.
None of this is going to be easy. I have been accused in the past of being naively unreasonable for expecting people to think. During the Personal Democracy Forum seminar yesterday on wikileaks Douglas Rushkoff asked if we are ready for democracy and today Henry Porter writes of the desire of the grown ups to maintain control.
However I am hopeful. Comparing the levels of technical competence of my kids with those of my non internet friends and comparing the peaceful majority at the student demonstrations in London to the wistful recollection of more politically engaged times amongst my middle class friends, I find myself wondering if the children are becoming grown ups and the adults are succumbing to voluntary infantilisation.