Mark Pesce on Hyperpolitics
Great lecture by Mark Pesce!!
"Mark Pesce is an expert in social media, best known for his work blending VR with the web to create VRML, the distant ancestor of Second Life. He is an author, teacher, inventor and well-known media personality in Australia. For the last four years he has practiced "digital ethnology," studying the behavioral, cultural and politics changes wrought by the new technologies of sharing and communication.
In this keynote talk at Personal Democracy Forum 2008, Pesce situates the current moment of transformation in the context of 60,000 years of human civilization; argues that our innate tendencies to connect with each other, copy behaviors and share ideas are now on hyperdrive; and projects a near-future where "hyperempowered" individuals and networks transform politics. As he concludes: "Representative democracies are a poor fit to the challenges ahead, and ‘rebooting’ them is not enough. The future looks nothing like democracy, because democracy, which sought to empower the individual, is being obsolesced by a social order which hyperempowers him." (http://blip.tv/file/1041686)
“A hyperconnected polity – whether composed of a hundred individuals or a hundred thousand – has resources at its disposal which exponentially amplify its capabilities. Hyperconnectivity begets hypermimesis begets hyperempowerment. After the arms race comes the war.
Conserved across nearly four thousand generations, the social fabric will warp and convulse as various polities actualize their hyperempowerment in the cultural equivalent of nuclear exchanges. Eventually (one hopes, with hypermimesis, rather quickly) we will learn to contain these most explosive forces. We will learn that even though we can push the button, we’re far better off refraining. At that point, as in the era of superpower Realpolitik, the action will shift to a few tens of thousands of ‘little’ conflicts, the hyperconnected equivalents of the endless civil wars which plagued Asia, Africa and Latin America during the Cold War.
Naturally, governments will seek to control and mediate these emerging conflicts. This will only result in the guns being trained upon them. The power redistributions of the 21st century have dealt representative democracies out. Representative democracies are a poor fit to the challenges ahead, and ‘rebooting’ them is not enough. The future looks nothing like democracy, because democracy, which sought to empower the individual, is being obsolesced by a social order which hyperempowers him.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead famously pronounced that we should “Never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world.” Mead spoke truthfully, and prophetically. We are all committed, we are all passionate. We merely lacked the lever to effectively translate the force of our commitment and passion into power. That lever has arrived, in my hand and yours.
And now, the world’s going to move – for all of us.”