EpistemologyGeneral

The Web: Does it suck us dry – or does it soak us up?

Maurizio Ferrari’s Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Turin approaches the questions “What is the Web” and “What is our task on the Web? Neue Zürcher Zeitung of July 1, 2018, “Das Web: Saugt es uns aus – oder saugt es uns auf?” Neue Zürcher Zeitung vom 1.7.2018 outlining six dilemmas. Dilemma “means a situation that offers two possibilities of decision, both of which lead to an undesirable result”.
1. virtual or real?
The web as virtualization of the world simultaneously creates social reality as a productive medium and thus real: “There is nothing more real than the web, and that is precisely where its power comes from.
2. communication or recording?
“The web is not a passive means of communication, but an active recording tool, an archive and a system capable of constructing social reality and mobilising individual and collective intentionality.”
3.construction or emergence?
The web is not intentionally constructed, nor is it a collective intelligence, but rather a result of the interplay of the most diverse elements, “obscure and unpredictable”.
4. knowledge or mobilization?
The web is not a collective intelligence, but a “mobilization medium” that constantly invites us to act. “It has nothing to do with any kind of freedom. On the contrary, it nourishes voluntary submission and generates a microphysics of power whose limits are not yet known.” The web shows that “we are mobilized and subservient animals, ready to act on command without understanding the reason for our actions”.
5 Alienation or Revelation?
The web does not alienate man, but shows his true nature: “Man reveals himself as animals in need of technology and always ready to exchange imagined freedom for real security and real consolation.
6) Submission or emancipation?
The web reveals our helplessness, but it can also be an instrument of practical reason, with which technology can be used for a new beginning of culture, for practical reason: “It describes what becomes possible through freedom – freedom, which in turn is a technique, the most difficult of all techniques”.

An interesting analysis especially regarding recording and submission problems. However, in the conclusion itself there is a dilemma: the new beginning is to arise from submission, the instrument of practical reason from helplessness.

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