My thoughts on this matter continue to emerge. Bring yourself up to date, if you wish, by reading this and its associated posts.
Just a couple more ideas to throw into the mix.
The social web’s major achievement seems to have been to convince people to work for global corporations for free. Not only for free but also in exchange for handing over personal data such as names, locations, dates of birth and so forth. We spend hours every day inputting what starts out as our data in a process whereby it essentially becomes their data – much of which in a discrete sense is of very little value. But bundled together, as sparse data often has been over history, it takes on a whole new life and existence.
So where has that selfsame history brought us? Whilst the 20th century was characterised by the multiple players of the industry of film taking over from the single authorship of the previous century’s novels, the 21st century will be characterised by a virtual sweat-shop of voluntary and addicted labour inputting its individually irrelevant datasets in order that algorithms and clever software manage to tease creative content out of the mix.
The creativity crisis both Chris and Rick speak so eloquently of is, in fact, no crisis at all – for there is plenty of employment to go around; the only slight problem from a living-your-life point of view being that it’s manifestly unpaid.
If we feel that the creative arts are inadequately funded, it’s because we’re looking in all the old places to create them. The new and brightest locations for creativity exist in the online constitutions which convert the product of evermore humble data-inputters across the globe into interesting and engaging Web 2.0 content. And funding isn’t necessary because the dumbing-down of process which characterises such corporate bodies everywhere has now also been applied to the end-users of such tools. Which does beg the question: who, in fact, could justify paying anything to anyone for simply liking or commenting on an article? In essence, we’ve been sold the donkey that what we do is ephemeral and worthless by itself – when in reality, using such dumbed-down processes which gather together and combine disparate data in new and unusual ways, it is really rather valuable, permanent and complex.
Are the machines on the point of taking over then? I would argue, with billion-dollar stock market flotations and user populations in the hundreds of millions, the modern social web has already turned us into industrialised cogs – freeloading as it does quite brutally on the back of our own falling standards of living as we work for zilch.
This software I talk of serves to take the basest of another’s data and turn it into a financial gold which is then stripped of all authorship and right to proper remuneration.
A virtual alchemy finally exists, then, in the 21st century. And its objects and goals – and victims too – just happen to be ourselves.
Oh, and one final thought to be going away with: if you believe in remunerating content providers properly but at the same time are thinking of using collated datasets of social content to run your businesses, think for a moment where all the latter information comes from – who produces it, under what conditions and how.
You may discover that the phrase “two-faced” comes to mind as you fight to impose your copyright laws on end-users of film, video, music and journalism – end-users who in a separate context you’re effectively employing unwaged in order that you might market better such legally protected products.
Yes. Web 2.0 is a classic example of getting something for nothing. Which doesn’t stop the most fervent supporters of copyright, even as we speak, resorting hypocritically to its charms.