When Copernicus put the sun at the center of the solar system in 1543 instead of the Earth, it dealt a major blow to the self-esteem of people who needed to be at the center of it all. Keen is the author of "The Internet is Not the Answer" (http://goo.gl/GO418Z).
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Transcript - The contemporary Internet is based on a fundamental lie. We all are told that it’s social. We’re all told that it allows connectivity, allows us to create community. But the reverse is actually true. It’s atomizing us. It’s not creating real community. It’s actually separating us from people of different opinions of different cultures. It’s increasingly an echo chamber effect where we’re only ever connected with people who agree with us in the first place. But even more troubling, these social networks aren’t really social. They’re platforms for the self. They’re platforms for us to build brands. The clearest manifestation of this is our obsession with the selfie. The selfie becomes the cultural form of the Internet. Wherever we go we picture ourself in front of mausoleums, in front of – as I say in the book in front of people committing suicide at Auschwitz. At every imaginable place in spite of all the bad taste associated with it we are, in our minds at least, our deluded minds, the center of our universe.
I argue again in terms of progress that we’ve gone back to a pre-Copernican understanding of the universe where everything revolves around us. There’s nothing social about that. And the end consequence is twofold. Firstly we’re making complete fools of ourselves. That narcissism, that indulgence is embarrassing. And in the long run we’re going to regret it both as a species and individually. When we look back at those absurd photos of ourself where we’re shamelessly exposing our own self-importance we’re going to be severely embarrassed by it. But secondly it also reflects the reality of the Internet. It’s about the individual, it’s not about the social. And the Internet is alienating, isolating, fragmenting ourselves. It’s weakening community. That’s, of course, the reason why it hasn’t generated real political movements. It creates explosions, the Arab Spring, Occupy, but no legacy, no political parties, no movements, no real foundations of political change.
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