Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Globalization and the internet diminish cooperation.

As a partial counter to today's other MindBlog posting, a Kristoff essay, "The Daily Me," argues that we use the internet for interactions that confirm and enhance our existing attitudes, thus diminishing the prospect of cooperation or agreement with people who hold different views:
When we go online, each of us is our own editor, our own gatekeeper. We select the kind of news and opinions that we care most about....Nicholas Negroponte of M.I.T. has called this emerging news product The Daily Me. And if that’s the trend, God save us from ourselves...That’s because there’s pretty good evidence that we generally don’t truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.

One of last year’s more fascinating books was Bill Bishop’s “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart.” He argues that Americans increasingly are segregating themselves into communities, clubs and churches where they are surrounded by people who think the way they do...The nation grows more politically segregated — and the benefit that ought to come with having a variety of opinions is lost to the righteousness that is the special entitlement of homogeneous groups...The result is polarization and intolerance.

No comments:

Post a Comment