13 Jun 2007

this century belongs to the amateur?

Throughout our education (10 + 2 + X system) there is this emphasis on becoming a specialist. it was no longer relevant to be a BTech or BA. You had to specialize even if you were not going to teach in that subject. The funny thing is that the geniuses (Leonardo, Picasso, Einstein) we are taught about never performed well in school but dabbled around till they found their passion. In our case we all became specialists. We ended up learning more and more about less and less.

Now this system is under attack. Through the internet. Specifically through bloggers. In the book The Cult of the Amateur, Andrew Keen argues that instead of becoming a source of good quality information and encouraging hidden talent the internet has become a joke. The result is that it has become a whirlpool of mediocrity. Most of the opinions and information are subjective and cannot be authenticated by independent sources. He says:

If we keep up this pace, there will be over five hundred million blogs by 2010, collectively corrupting and confusing popular opinion about everything from politics, to commerce, to arts and culture. Blogs have become so dizzyingly infinite, that they’ve undermined our sense of what is true and what is false, what is real and what is imaginary. These days, kids can’t tell the difference between credible news by objective professional journalists and what they read on joeshmoe.blogspot.com

Of course bloggers have reacted to this criticism.

A conspiracy theorist would argue that the Internet may not have been created by the eilte but it was funded and encouraged to keep the masses distracted from the real issues.

Is this not a problem of technology and how making it more accessible is going to lead to these situations? Even in the field of film technology the availability of cheaper video cameras has resulted in a profusion of amateur filmmakers. These people are young enthusiasts who can shoot edit and direct their films. Some of the stuff that comes out is good most of it is really boring stuff or copies of other films. But this does not deter them. New films and enthusiasts emerge.

But I guess in the case of the Net we tend to believe a lot of the things are written on it. Wikipedia is NOT God (Who is God is another blog). Remember most of it is a personal point of view. Even this one.

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