Of late I've been using the Internet as a way to attempt to connect my voice to those in various fields of expertise. We are told that all technological change should be a good thing and that should benefit our society. Yet something nags me about this rose tinted view. Those of you who click the link will find an old essay from The Evil Genius himself. Perhaps this is the missing clue.
There is no shortage of eviscerations of Microsoft, Google or really any corporation in this day and age. Next to these ultimate angry narrative commentaries, is a staggering realization that the very technology that "amplifies" acts of "hacktivism" is the same technology that "amplifies" the power of the moneyed decision makers.
Thus we see that far from "democratizing" discourse what we see is a contnued trend towards the tyranny of the expert. Snark is but one tool that "experts" of one field use to draw battle lines. Far be it for a simple citizen to proffer his own use and engagement with technology. No, rather, in the scheme of the Internet the citizen may only join an existing battle line. Speaking out in favor of one view is a risky proposition depending on who's domain one might find themselves in.
Now I find it important to point out here that I am only referring to those who are "experts" in a non-verifiable discipline. And with this I will digress a bit and explain what exactly I mean. A welder is an expert at welding, otherwise he would not be called a "welder." The welder's expertise is independently verifiable, one can inspect the weld made and can measure this verses a truly objective standard. In this way an expert at making things can be held to an objective standard.
Now when I refer to a, "Tyranny of the Expert," I am focusing my attention towards those experts who might describe their job as, "being payed to stay informed." These are not true experts. Not in my mind at least.
My reasoning is fairly simple, and I have a thought experiment.
Imagine, you have some condition, or so you think, you have very mild but persistent symptoms that don't mean much by themselves. You talk these symptoms over with your doctor and he says its just the flu. You are given a prescription and sent on your way. However your symptoms continue and after more consultations you come to the realization that your doctor just doesn't care too much about what you say, maybe he thinks you are being a hypochondriac or whatever. Yet polite society prevents you from addressing this succinctly.
In frustration you try another doctor, this new doctor listens to your concerns and to your surprise opens up a dialogue. He starts asking you about your diet and other habits. The more you discuss these things and the more you implement the shared conclusions the two of you reached in consultation the better your health. Your symptoms gradually disappear.
Now what is going on here? Both Doctor's are experts, but in what sense? Are they like the welder or are they like the pundit who is, "paid to stay informed?" Doctors share in both realms, they are supposedly experts on the changes various chemicals have on our bodies and they are experts in the way that knowledge surrounding these acts are synthesized.
The welder is only held to an objective standard and a pundit is only held to the "sythesization" standard. The doctor is responsible for both.
Too often on the internet we are given the pill, as per our first example, even as we are told that we are allowed and encouraged to, "engage" in a dialogue as per the latter example. Experts never like it when a common citizen can articulate why they dislike taking one pill or another. It doesn't matter to them, they're the expert.
So contrary to the claims of Mr. Gates and others, the internet far from making the world "simpler" actually adds another layer of informal communication that is highly dependent on the habits and the temperament of the "expert" on the other end of the line.
So what does this mean for our generalizations of value? Despite the modern "anti-leader" movements, something cannot be summoned from nothing. Leadership is required and sometimes leadership is nothing but expertise. The internet rather then fundamentally changing things it has merely upped everyone's intensity.
Everyone's value, via self publication, has been ratcheted up. Yet saying this makes things "simpler" is the most erroneous conclusion of the last decade. In fact the very technology that the modern supposed grass roots anti-leader movements hold as their greatist asset, is in fact the very midwife for their situation to begin with.
The internet, rather then democratizing things, has perpetuated and amplified the synthesized-knowledge "experts" voice, while the common man is reduced to faceless anonymity as, "the angry commenter," or the "troll."