Cultural Speciation

New media are eradicating the (practical) idea of a common culture. Everything print media integrated, by universalizing literacy, is now being disintegrated into bubbles. It’s bound to be an upsetting development, from certain perspectives:

Another tech trend fueling this issue is the ability to publish ideas online at no cost, and to gather an audience around those ideas. It’s now easier than ever to produce content specifically designed to convince people who may be on the fence or “curious” about a particular topic. This is an especially big issue when it comes to violent extremism, and pseudoscience. Self-publishing has eliminated all the checks and balances of reputable media ― fact-checkers, editors, distribution partners.

It turns out that ‘trusted’ cultural curators aren’t actually trusted much at all. When their reputations are — for the first time — put to the test, they crumble to nothing very fast.

The fission of authorized ‘common purposes’ into meme wars certainly isn’t going to be welcomed by everybody. Nothing is going to be welcomed by everybody. Fragmentation is now the driver, so it isn’t (at all) likely to be stopped.

Rule-of-thumb for any techno-propelled regime transition: What the existing establishment hates and fears most is the already-palpable threat, whose arrival is as close to inevitable as history allows anything to be. (Completely inevitable, in the opinion of this blog, but no one is under any compulsion to follow us there.)

Disintermediation

There are quite a lot of people who aren’t going to like this:

It was winter of 2014 when [Joseph Lubin] beckoned me to a Bitcoin conference in Miami to tell me about a new project, named Ethereum, that he and a group of like-minded Canadians had begun working on just a few months earlier. When I caught up with him, he didn’t hold back on the scope of his vision: “We will replace insurance companies. We will replace Wall Street,” he told me. […] Then the list kept growing. Online movie distribution houses like Netflix and Hulu. Gaming platforms like Xbox and Sega Genesis. Messaging services like Twitter. Add to that retirement plans, currency exchanges, voting, intellectual-property managers, and trust-fund disbursers. According to Lubin, everything — really everything — we do on the Internet or via any kind of digital channel is about to undergo a radical change.

(Among the very best Bitcoin articles written to date.)