August 21, 1997
The number of travelers along the information superhighway is increasing at a rate of ten percent a month. How will this communications revolution affect our culture and society?
Though awed by their potential, we feared computers as agents of the further alienation of modern man: the take away our jobs, minimize direct human contact, even shake our faith in the unique power of the human brain. Pierre Levy believes, however, that rather than creating a society where machines real man, the technology of cyberspace will have a humanizing influence on us, and foster the emergence of a “collective intelligence” – a meeting of minds on the Internet – that will validate the contributions of the individual.
Levy shows how the unfettered exchange of ideas and cyberspace has the potential to liberate us from the social and political hierarchies listed in the way of mankind’s advancement. But as optimistic as this may be, we would be wrong to dismiss it as simply utopian. “In response to the criticism that this is… utopian… I would say that, yes, [it] is utopian, but it is an achievable utopia.” writes Levy. At once a profound historical analysis of the development of human culture and a blueprint for the future, Collective Intelligence is a visionary work.
Anthropologist, historian, sociologist, and philosopher, Levy writes with a depth of scholarship and imaginative insight rare among media critics. Collective Intelligence will make a substantial contribution to our views on society through to the next millennium.
Pierre Levy is a Professor in the Department of Hypermedia at the University of Paris-VIII, scientific advisor to the TriVium company, and member of the advisory Board of the Pompidou Centre’s Virtual Review. He holds advanced degrees in sociology, the history of science, and the sciences of information and communication, and has published numerous works in French on new technologies.