Monday, December 8, 2008

Not All Mobs Are Smart

Surely you've seen the effects of Smart Mobs resulting in thought provoking group behavior on YouTube. Maybe you've read fictional accounts of smart mobs in Corey Doctorow's freely available Little Brother?

Smart Mobs as identified in Howard Rheingold's book of the same name, demonstrate how technology can amplify the cooperative efforts of any group of people; I worry about how the same tools can amplify the destructive behavior of a not-so smart mob.

The potential of young people acting en masse to promote positive change, as recommended by Clay Burell, may be a powerful way to challenge the status quo, but the reality that a pied piper with less than honourable means can use this same strategy, tempers my enthusiasm for this 'how-to' video.


Mr. Sigler said...

So...if I were a terrorist, I just got a how-to training on planning a terrorist bombing. This smart-mob video can be powerful if innocent intentions, but disastrous if it has more insidious motives.

Rodd Lucier said...

All the more reason that we have to step up in teaching about the potential of emerging technologies... both benefits and hazards!

Clay Burell said...

Interesting, Rodd. While I don't disagree, it brings to mind the old "neutrality of tools" saw, and the question, "Since it can be used for ill, should it not be taught for good?"

Seems the Mumbai terrorists knew the ropes, for sure.

But I hope progressives learn and use them too :)