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Andrew Keen: Fear Facebook and the social WebIn his new book, "Digital Vertigo," Keen argues that the profusion of sharing online is dividing, diminishing and disorienting humanity.
Andrew -- is the author of cult of the amateur how the Internet is killing culture which was written in 2007 as a new book called. Digital vertigo and Andrew's here with me today. Andrew thanks for being here and it's always applies a digital vertical and I must say it's that very well researched in fact -- I might call it paradise. A -- above my head but of course went to Oxford and therefore you've got to. Penalties there allusions to these famous people from history. But I'm basically your thesis is that the social web and everything about sharing. -- killing society not just killing culture. Well perhaps I -- -- -- it that it has but I'd rather it's about the Internet content on talking about social media -- enough species. Killing the species yet as you can evaluate it as an Armageddon story well -- access -- it's it's it's that if it's a story about corpses. It's built off. Hitchcock's vertigo this way it's cool digital -- It's a book about illustrious corpses corps' -- for women. The corpses of technology companies in the corpses of people like you and me who have. Lost what it is to be human -- -- things that pop. So explain a little bit more about the corpses and and how -- human beings we've lost but it means to live publicly. Well in Hitchcock's vertigo which the book is built -- I as the story takes place in San Francisco program this -- a Mac both in and out with a woman who. Times that to be dead and and -- in the movies about him making him out to act cool. What I fair enough social media age is that we're living like cool. Spending our lives rule -- -- -- cells to the world. -- is losing our in the lives than using the complexity of privacy and harness the corps broadcasts to the world. That doesn't seem logical. It doesn't seem logical but there's a lot of illogical things happening in today's book that begin the book in London. Where -- -- the cool so. Late -- -- -- nineteenth century utilitarian philosopher -- Jeremy event. Who has spent the -- 170 years would cost the and so the world. So that idea -- Corpses brought costing themselves goes from Jeremy -- -- in his famous or so why on University College. Two people like you and I may be that may be no human eyes at me about all of us who have -- Or to -- cartons becoming corpses on FaceBook and Twitter. And you focus a lot of the book gone on FaceBook but let me kind of go to the end of the book because it. And market it will be and is good but I also think it brings of these points and kind of on the way people probably understand it -- terms of contemporary society in Canada's -- -- to be effective it now is that typical and it actually even if you can write very well we'll we'll put that and here's how your -- We say that Reid Hoffman who has the founder of Linkedin and -- and it and it and faster and many other social networks including FaceBook. Three Hawkins says it's wrong to believe we are social animals. You also talk to Biz Stone from Twitter and and you say that he is wrong to think that the future must be social and you talk to Sean Parker from FaceBook in the social network movie of course. That now it's wrong that today's -- is inevitably inevitably today tomorrow's necessity. And then you -- instead. As John Stuart Mill reminds us our uniqueness as a species lies in our ability to stand apart from the crowd. To disentangle ourselves from the society and let alone. And to be able to think and act for selves. Now that sounds like people should be going out into the woods then chopping wood in living by themselves -- off the grid. While that's an American that's -- typical American response then I'm not necessarily sympathetic to say the road who would argue that we have to. The degrade and do -- in -- shack. What John Stuart Mill was simply arguing that in that in an increasingly. -- -- well -- he was writing about the industrial way you know world in which. Mass society was coming into being we need to carve out to space where individuals can think that for themselves because -- argued -- strongly agree with it. Innovation creativity is driven by the individual not by the group. So we want not innovation and -- to -- page. If we want people to be able to think for themselves collided -- you think that that that everything is moving toward a dumb herds so to speak. I fear the social web -- see what's coming into place it's not just FaceBook with the FaceBook is the -- -- what now is being -- the the big day so the way it Rio economy and link it -- that I -- like economy as opposed to a link economy. Within -- around this in San Francisco thousands of stocks out. All focusing on the social. Enabling all of us on the network to tell below what was thinking what -- drinking but it. Why should tell the world what you think it's also to get things done for example can be part of a social network -- just right about that helps you find a parking space. So is it bad that people know -- I'm looking for a parking space know only here on that social network. Well that's true I'm. I'm times time I'm willing to tolerate social networks that. That allow us find parking -- -- but it goes way beyond pockets please you know that it goes to our musical taste what we thinking where we are location netbooks. Social application networks like highlights and -- it. And as more and more people in the world come on the network -- -- two billion now we're gonna have about five minute. Five billion by 20/20 with fifty billion intelligent devices we're -- gonna be living normal. Radically transparent and I fear that that. Is taking away the uniqueness of the in the world the human beings are how to. To take away the unique Islamic which -- can. You say that that Mark Zuckerberg its five year plan -- to eliminate loneliness. Don't think it's a bit of an over rotation. Well it's -- office so I mean I think Mark Zuckerberg has said very clearly that his goal is to create a well lit dorm room in which we analytic. I think it's gone beyond the dorm room my eyes and -- -- that aren't about sharing so if it's about sharing sharing. Inherently. Something negative or that has evil consequences. I don't think it is but I think the kind of radical nature of about -- I mean -- I'm not using that the time eliminating loneliness. Told -- I'm quoting shown pocket. Who in his new video social starts out at time -- specific he said the goal of that time is to eliminate them. I think when you don't you think that that's a bit of an exaggeration from someone -- a well known character. I think -- pockets of very Smart guy I think if he says the goal of his -- -- eighty speaking more about himself and about the general highlighted the wind doesn't mean anything -- -- -- one doesn't. It doesn't. Have to worry about them in this issue own pocket it and I think that's where maybe -- little bit off you're saying that while all these people are -- -- socially connected. Or -- have -- billion dollars like Sean Parker you're never going to be lonely. I think. I was stupid of those students write the book. Because I sort parent sites -- a world in which we are increasingly individualized. Maximized. Known me. Fragmented. Society is breaking out -- the social is actually quite weak. In parallel with the cult of the social emerging on the Internet and -- no religious test. -- -- -- If indeed that's the case then how do you account for let's say the United States congress being so -- in terms of accomplishing anything collaborating. Doing things more. In concert -- in complete opposition. Is that and -- is that from an impact of these social Weber from the emerging social revolution. A big living there and and this is way might -- with service to -- -- -- -- I really -- transitional moment where -- shifting from an industrial. Mass society to a knowledge -- society. I think the problems with congress about -- system without media system. With the energy system oral parts of that I'm not sure how how the problems with congress connected with my critique of social media -- You don't -- one. I don't think that social media -- office necessarily a solution to the political crisis it in congress write about politics. Clearly social media has an impact in changing justified systems. And it's -- -- that is the point we have seen changes. We had -- suffice system such as -- spring although it hasn't turned out as well as people would like. We've seen how. Social -- such as Twitter and FaceBook are transforming in some ways the political system in terms of information that's available to people. As well as the amount of noise. I would accept the fact that social media is having a transformative impact on politics or can use them in the apps bring in Russia reported on the -- -- The Occupy Movement the London riots. What I fear is that the -- -- nature of social media. The fact that it -- -- -- social isn't resulting in coherent political movements but the failure -- occupied. Look at the London -- Look at that the failure really of the the Arab Spring to become an Arab -- map seems to -- to be an Arab wind. Look at the fate of even the resistance and and could have that you would get this -- -- -- that failure of social media to have. An outcome that would be preferred by some people as opposed to. That social media provided a catalyst and and continues what I would -- That social media provides the cap list and Ireland thing. I -- there's no doubt about back. What I would argue though is that and that many people -- a Jeff Jarvis spaceship -- many other people believe that it's more than a -- -- I don't think it is. I don't think it's. The holy Grail I don't think it's the solution to up political crisis which acknowledge exists. Whether it's in America and Europe -- -- -- the authoritarian states it is clearly a political crisis to crisis of authority. But I don't think the social media console that and that's it sorts out many of its structure. They also seem to have an issue with the Mark Zuckerberg. Related to a tiny group of individuals who are becoming remarkably. Rich based on using. Data and that dated and the product that they. Producer used to produce there there there service is information we give it so. How do you relate that to your historical perspective. Or I think it took about him -- -- -- and and that they're brilliant people pay out the cream of my generation actually. I mean war and all of them. Think they brilliant people. But at the same time -- annuity -- -- -- -- for examples as well with FaceBook now we can become more authentic when not Zuckerberg says. -- Will organize live in this wonderfully well lit dorm room and when shall -- says we're gonna eliminate laden as well there really say is that I'm gonna control mode -- And I'm gonna where are they really saying they're gonna control your day -- -- adding an aggregate when you -- that and monetize it in ways to make myself incredibly rich and -- us aren't a problem but what. What did those products this so called products get it in an exchange are offering up all their personal data or some of it. Why I think the problem is that most people. I'm aware of the way these systems well one of the purposes of this book is to argue that free is never really -- And in exchange for giving up -- date. In exchange for using networks like FaceBook and Google+ which are free we are essentially handing a pop opera -- -- -- -- the product. Hitchcock made film analyze them whine about that it goes so much we're living in the film on we -- the full -- we have it Jimmy Stewart. In the twenty for a century movie. -- -- about ready to step by about last week I wrote to peaceful. CNN. In an amphibious of course but I wrote a piece about a list. It got almost twenty ironic you know 20000. FaceBook -- Many but it -- -- is that a positive. Positive for her for Europe for the whole system -- -- has endured your your writing how FaceBook is evil. And I wouldn't I think it while I was at a -- glad outraged over it already -- I don't -- took about a -- a -- evil but I think. They are incredibly opportunistic. And I think that we need to push back back and -- -- -- let's talk about the solutions now. What would you proposes a way. So that individual would have. More say for I think for a full time person and this is key. -- object to them. The first is individuals we got it. We need to protect sides. That we need to maintain it -- industry particularly young people think it's just that in. Ultimately it's up to and we can't -- -- -- maintain a degree of mystery what does that mean. It means that when. We cannot reveal everything about themselves. Because we do away with -- -- if if if I. Join every network and how well everything lie and how many people do that Robert Scoble. How many Robert Scoble are there in the world well I know people watch it it's still a very small percentage of campus got seventy million people in the world -- scope of the future. -- -- Now you're saying that the future is people like school hours I want -- broadcast everything I wanna -- a -- I want everyone to watch me. Want everyone to edit the converse that -- 900 people are 900 million people -- billion people on FaceBook and all of them of course Cisco. But met -- them -- wannabes. Many of them are using this network though this. Without really understanding what they do it until they lose a job or so announced happens -- -- it and I don't have a factor because they could lose a job they could be embarrassed they could use a spouse. I think it is a relationship with the child but it goes beyond -- this is new territory. For the species -- never lived at a time where we can tell the world everything about us. And I think that this book button and this today is about mine but there -- That's always there have always been exhibition -- -- I think Robert Scoble is a very well known. Blogger and technology arrogant and -- app for and a friend of ours. But nothing but everyone doesn't want to be an exhibitionist and every -- with every technology there are always people who wanted to step on the stage and and be seen in -- but we would like for the party or PB someone. You know who would be looked up to as opposed to being part of the crowd but -- there's nothing different there's just the tools are better and there's going to be. So you always have done you are saying that there's no change in the culture of the we're not living in an age of great exhibition -- them. But when I write about their own -- and in that book it's always been that. Well if you're safe putting up a picture of this -- that is exhibition is and then and yes. But if it's simply communicating well because we have these tools I can put up a picture I can tell -- -- -- have for breakfast I can do this to my friends have. -- pick -- choose to view that to engage with it or not. Why do we just have to make the right decision on your own thing that we are -- -- in an age where. That kind of exhibition is becoming increasingly. Salient feature out. Added if we are meant is that point oh and then and not worth the time right because this department. History -- Even if it -- -- -- out of time what are -- different tech knowledge it's obviously different and I mean when you have a company that doesn't really have any technology -- -- in this way it was on. The day. When it has almost a billion Memphis when you have this continued explosion of social technologies social -- by Apple does it mean that's really. This isn't just so what are what are sure what's your prediction for that he threatened unless I happen to come back just leave the suit so the fast -- is. We only that the process was not for me to tell people should or shouldn't be on the network that -- Friday they shouldn't shouldn't be on FaceBook account FaceBook -- So everyone needs to make decisions secondly I think we need to look at it. Government and government does have a wrong not -- that it's there and fit them of -- so that it's there and it. Some sympathetic to legislation in Europe the money right to be the -- nation uses. Sympathetic to the do not track legislation through the US congress. The acting as a great -- for innovation. The mock it is that he's mining companies like every -- reputation don't com. Dot dot using more and more companies tech companies really interest -- companies driven by the core premise of protecting prizes. I'm fine mapping technology has to be light or abduction -- -- is trying to develop technology which enable states to degenerate. I think we've got to it as we live more on the Internet as it becomes the platform to present it right. It needs to replicate the world we use it needs to conform to what we war. To date it needs to -- we need to hack situations where the Internet the -- out yet if we could teach Internet. How to forget and even. Become even go back on its promise. I've been speaking with Andrew king Arthur digital vertigo for -- I'm Dan Farber.