“Here Comes Everybody” wrote Clay Shirky, tech evangelist, five years ago. He’s a cheerleader for the radical empowerment offered by the internet – new voices, direct access, more ideas, a swirl of intellectual and political ferment.
Here comes another book on the impact of the internet which takes the next step. Nicco Mele’s “The End of Big” pithily summarises the impact of what he terms “radical connectivity – our breathtaking ability to send vast amounts of data instantly, constantly and globally.”
But from the preview extracts I’ve read, it poses sobering questions about what happens next, when Big Institutions get undercut. You know the drill. Free blogs undercut paid news. Online protest, old-fashioned politics. Music sharing, record labels. You Tube uploads, the film studios. 3D printing, traditional supply chains. And so on. As Nicco Mele puts it, “radical connectivity is toxic to conventional power structures”.
But if and when the big guys have gone… Mele asks us to look harder at what we will lose. “We can’t fetishize technology and say ‘to hell with our institutions’ without suffering terrible consequences.” Continue reading