The internet is nothing but software fabric that connects the interactions of human beings. Every piece of software is going to transformed by this primacy of people and this shift.
By Trent Gilliss | Monday, July 11, 2011 - 10:41pm
—Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president and Google+ project manager in Wired
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Two conclusions flow from this, then. First, sociology, being the discipline that studies interaction, is the discipline to study the internet. Second, to the extent that the internet will mirror our society, it will be a realm characterized by deepening inequality and a contested terrain. As a realm of discourse, it will be a technology both of domination and liberation.
How does that follow?
How do you get from "the fabric of our communication" to "deepening inequality and contested terrain"? Is that some implication you see in the base quote, or does it derive from a conviction that humans can't interact in any other ways?
Many technologists are aware of the problems of current inequalities and the danger of widening the gap, and are applying their technologies to resist. A fascinating study was done recently using the "One Laptop Per Child" systems: a box of OLPCs were dropped into a village without instructions or instructors. The children figured out how to use the devices themselves!
Even more exciting than the experimental result is the mere fact that the experiment was done: technologists striving to find the most effective ways to eliminate the inequalities.
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You are right .
Taking this quote with a grain of salt. Just have to point out that the internet is exactly an unmitigated place where only good things happen. In fact, if you're not careful, navigating the internet is like walking in a minefield. We only have to be aware of horror stories - identity theft, internet addiction, all sorts of scams & frauds, etc - that happen while using the internet to realize that we have to be careful while using this technology so that we will not be victims of people who are out to take advantage of us in the cyberworld....
On the other hand, Ray Kurzweil is also a senior googler, Director of Engineering, and he's famous for the notion of a "Singularity," the moment when computers become smarter than people, or perhaps when computer-human fusions become the new masters.
Google is nothing if not eclectic.