My initial thoughts while reading the Hand article were that the idea of a “Global Information Culture” (p 16) is a nice idea, but still far from reality. The ‘western’ modern world, or first world nations may have access to this, but there are still large parts of the population that do not. How will their needs be addressed in the new ‘cyber-republic?’
In the past we were spoon fed our information through the various media. We saw what the media producers and governments wished us to see. There were limited viewpoints produced simply because of the costs associated with distribution, or due to government restrictions. For the most part we accepted this information as fact because we weren’t aware of any alternatives.
With the advent of the internet, information is readily available at little to no cost to produce and distribute. Government restrictions on the types of information shared can be bypassed, and the ‘truth’ will get out. But who’s truth is it? How do we know? Why would the farmer in China who has never been anywhere question his government’s politics if that was all he ever knew? If his government continued to speak out against capitalism, why would he seek to question those beliefs? Even though more information and another ‘truth’ may be available to him, why would he choose to seek that out… unless someone were to show it to him.
Even though the internet allows us access to many viewpoints and many ‘truths’, do we as a culture seek out alternatives to the traditional, or we do simply continue to go with what we know?