But one of the pioneers of the digital experience --- the inventor of the term "virtual reality" and one of the digital industry's earliest supporters --- believes that the concept of crowd wisdom is dead, replaced by mob meanness.
The New York Times profiles Jaron Lanier, who argues that the anonymity and piracy of the Web have generated a technological tyranny, defeating good ideas and perpetuating mediocre ones. He is a supporter turned dissident decrying what he calls a destructive new social contract.
“The basic idea of this contract is that authors, journalists, musicians and artists are encouraged to treat the fruits of their intellects and imaginations as fragments to be given without pay to the hive mind. Reciprocity takes the form of self-promotion. Culture is to become precisely nothing but advertising.”
He proposes a rethink of systems and ideology and the introduction of a compulsory micropayment system.