Toward a New Future of “Whatever”

Here is the video from my recent talk at the Personal Democracy Forum at Jazz at Lincoln Center. About 10 minutes of it is a minor update (rehash) of An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, but the rest is new. The gathering may have been the highest concentration of amazingly creative and concerned global citizens I have ever been around. Hallway conversations were different than your typical conversations. Instead of lots of people saying, “You know, somebody should … ” there were lots of people saying, “So I did this, this, and this, and now I’m working on doing this, this, and this and we should collaborate … ” In other words, it was a bunch of people blessed with what I once heard Yochai Benkler and Henry Jenkins call “critical optimism.” Nobody there was blindly optimistic, thinking technology was going to make everything better. They were all continually trying to figure out where we are, where we might be going, and the possible downsides and dangers of new technologies so we can use the new technologies to serve human purposes. In other words, it was my kind of crowd.


Associate professor of cultural anthropology. Ed Traceur. Hacker. Car-free.

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51 Responses

  1. In our master’s degree we discussed, between other things, about virtual relationships, ciberculture and network society. All these concepts have a common point: information, comunication and people. One and another have always existed, with or without social networks, youtube, email, chat rooms and whatever the new technology permits.

    Since Adam and Eve people are egocentric, individualist and narcissistic. People just think and care about themselves, not about the others. Sometimes, to be well with his conscience, people join into communities and they try to be generous.

    The web 2.0, with his technology, just amplify the true nature of the people. So, as we said in another comment, the problem is not the technology but the people. The machine is not changing us because, as Prof. Wesch says in the other post , the machine is us. We are not changing, we are like we are! But now, with the power of the comunication (Youtube included), people can manipulate and play with the feelings, their and other’s.

    Whatever happens in the future, the future are us…

    This is our point of view and our reflexion about your great speach! Thank you Professor Wesch!

    Carla Cardoso and Rui Páscoa, master’s degree students in E-Learning Pedagogy, Universidade Aberta, Portugal