Nicholas Carr says Web 2.0 “amoral”

Ahh, fun, Nicholas Carr got tired of saying that IT is dead. So now he’s saying that Web 2.0 is “amoral.”

Oh, really? Maybe you should check out the Web 2.0 stuff that Brian Bailey is doing. He is putting HDTV videos of his church’s services up. And much more. And he has a blog.

But why let a little blog like Brian’s get in the way of a nice story? Hmmmm.

By the way, his church (Fellowship near Dallas) is doing the best video streaming in the industry. His “streaming video from scratch” posts are the bible for the video industry. Fellowship is the first church in the world to be totally HDTV.

See, even amoral geeks can learn something by going to church.

Comments

  1. Robert,

    You DO know that amoral is not *IM*moral, right?

    He’s not saying that Web 2.0 is inherently good or bad. He’s saying Web 2.0 is a set of technologies, and nothing more. It does not inherently provide good or evil through its use, and that any morals ascribed to the tech alone are merely yet another case of anthropomorphication of the inanimate by humans.

    He’s saying that this hooey about Web 2.0 being somehow the tech that will create some kind of golden age is just that…hooey. And he’s right.

    I wonder if you actually read his article, or just skimmed it with your mind made up. If i pointed to a link of someone posting satanic rituals via Web 2.0 tech, would that make it baaaaaaaad?

    no.

    So you posting a link to a church using it doesn’t make it goooood either.

    it’s just tech. it doesn’t care. it’s…amoral.

    oh yeah…amoral only has one “m”.

  2. Robert,

    You DO know that amoral is not *IM*moral, right?

    He’s not saying that Web 2.0 is inherently good or bad. He’s saying Web 2.0 is a set of technologies, and nothing more. It does not inherently provide good or evil through its use, and that any morals ascribed to the tech alone are merely yet another case of anthropomorphication of the inanimate by humans.

    He’s saying that this hooey about Web 2.0 being somehow the tech that will create some kind of golden age is just that…hooey. And he’s right.

    I wonder if you actually read his article, or just skimmed it with your mind made up. If i pointed to a link of someone posting satanic rituals via Web 2.0 tech, would that make it baaaaaaaad?

    no.

    So you posting a link to a church using it doesn’t make it goooood either.

    it’s just tech. it doesn’t care. it’s…amoral.

    oh yeah…amoral only has one “m”.

  3. Totally agree with John.

    All I would add is that if you haven’t RTFA then you should as it’s well written and thoughtful. I’m disappointed you felt the need to write such a nasty post (‘tired’, ‘get in the way of a story? hmmm’ etc.)

    Perhaps you’re being ironic? After all a professional journalist would be expected to read the original article, a professional editor would spot the ignorance of your post, a professional proofreader would spot your spelling errors etc.

    As Carr says: “Implicit in the ecstatic visions of Web 2.0 is the hegemony of the amateur. I for one can’t imagine anything more frightening.”

  4. Totally agree with John.

    All I would add is that if you haven’t RTFA then you should as it’s well written and thoughtful. I’m disappointed you felt the need to write such a nasty post (‘tired’, ‘get in the way of a story? hmmm’ etc.)

    Perhaps you’re being ironic? After all a professional journalist would be expected to read the original article, a professional editor would spot the ignorance of your post, a professional proofreader would spot your spelling errors etc.

    As Carr says: “Implicit in the ecstatic visions of Web 2.0 is the hegemony of the amateur. I for one can’t imagine anything more frightening.”

  5. Come on guys, give Robert a break – or at least practice what you preach and read HIS post again.

    He clearly – clearly – did NOT did not confuse “immoral” with “amoral”.

    Of course, I have no clue what “ammoral” is! (He not only spelled it incorrectly in the post, but also in the title.) Robert… can you help me out? Is “ammoral” some kind of drug-cousin of Demoral or something?

    J/K.

    But Robert, John does have a point…. major difference between immoral and amoral.

  6. Come on guys, give Robert a break – or at least practice what you preach and read HIS post again.

    He clearly – clearly – did NOT did not confuse “immoral” with “amoral”.

    Of course, I have no clue what “ammoral” is! (He not only spelled it incorrectly in the post, but also in the title.) Robert… can you help me out? Is “ammoral” some kind of drug-cousin of Demoral or something?

    J/K.

    But Robert, John does have a point…. major difference between immoral and amoral.

  7. As far as I understand from reading Carr’s book, it is not necessarily concise to sum it up with “IT is dead”.

  8. As far as I understand from reading Carr’s book, it is not necessarily concise to sum it up with “IT is dead”.

  9. Maybe Carr should have called Web 2.0 agnostic and avoided the morality play. I suspect, having read him for a long time, that part of his very careful choice of words was to breed exactly the sort of “read-it-quick, misinterpret, and comment” storm Robert is potentially starting here. Now that Robert has posted his negative comment/review, a bunch of Scoble-link-loving bloggers will pile on, repeating what he’s said.

    Can’t you just see the posts already?

    “Scoble says Nick Carr is tired…”
    “Scoble says Nick Carr is immoral…:
    “Scoble says Nick Carr is the devil!”
    “Scoble says Nick Carr is the antichrist!”
    “Scoble says Nick Carr is going straight to hell!”

    ;^)

  10. Maybe Carr should have called Web 2.0 agnostic and avoided the morality play. I suspect, having read him for a long time, that part of his very careful choice of words was to breed exactly the sort of “read-it-quick, misinterpret, and comment” storm Robert is potentially starting here. Now that Robert has posted his negative comment/review, a bunch of Scoble-link-loving bloggers will pile on, repeating what he’s said.

    Can’t you just see the posts already?

    “Scoble says Nick Carr is tired…”
    “Scoble says Nick Carr is immoral…:
    “Scoble says Nick Carr is the devil!”
    “Scoble says Nick Carr is the antichrist!”
    “Scoble says Nick Carr is going straight to hell!”

    ;^)

  11. I only read the first few paragraphs. What I can say is that tripe like that doesn’t get read by me. I don’t have the time nor patience to sift through one man’s verbal masturbation on his blog. I get it; you have the ability to construct sentences well, go on and on about nothing, and use wax poetic for pages before finally getting to the point.

    That kind of writing is perfect for books where the publishers insists you take a point that can be made in three sentences and take 300 pages to write it. But a blog? No thanks. I’ll read long articles on the article, but not under the pretense that somebody is trying to make a point that can be summed up rather quickly. Why must I read about some transcendentalist internet movement of decades ago when the REAL point of the article is that Web 2.0 sucks? I need not.

    This is just the type of crap I dislike on both sides. But with the way this writing is, I am a lowly peasant merely content to make my dues while the philosophers of the internet can continue their collective circlejerk about the religion of the internet.

  12. I only read the first few paragraphs. What I can say is that tripe like that doesn’t get read by me. I don’t have the time nor patience to sift through one man’s verbal masturbation on his blog. I get it; you have the ability to construct sentences well, go on and on about nothing, and use wax poetic for pages before finally getting to the point.

    That kind of writing is perfect for books where the publishers insists you take a point that can be made in three sentences and take 300 pages to write it. But a blog? No thanks. I’ll read long articles on the article, but not under the pretense that somebody is trying to make a point that can be summed up rather quickly. Why must I read about some transcendentalist internet movement of decades ago when the REAL point of the article is that Web 2.0 sucks? I need not.

    This is just the type of crap I dislike on both sides. But with the way this writing is, I am a lowly peasant merely content to make my dues while the philosophers of the internet can continue their collective circlejerk about the religion of the internet.

  13. I don’t normally read through to those church postings, but this blog entry is interesting:

    If you’ve been following along, you know we made a major shift last April to open source, linux-driven development. We’re cranking out some sweet code left and right, but we need designers to take that code and make it shine. Read all about our development approach here.

  14. I don’t normally read through to those church postings, but this blog entry is interesting:

    If you’ve been following along, you know we made a major shift last April to open source, linux-driven development. We’re cranking out some sweet code left and right, but we need designers to take that code and make it shine. Read all about our development approach here.

  15. Technology is inspiring, the Web is creating communities.

    I blog in hypertext, the Web is about Links.

    Links to people, Links to ideas, Links to events.

  16. Technology is inspiring, the Web is creating communities.

    I blog in hypertext, the Web is about Links.

    Links to people, Links to ideas, Links to events.

  17. Nick Carr is only stating the obvious, IT functions better as a commodity, and the 60s drippy New Agey New Web Masters, sure have alotta kooky ideas afoot. Amazing how worked up people get when you despiritualize the machines.

    The Promised Land is paved with HDTV? I get to God via video stream? What about churches that use open source or go Linux, or even still this Reformed Calvinist church I used to goto that used OpenOffice, that immoral? :)

    amoral – Function: adjective – being neither moral nor immoral; specifically: lying outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply.

    immoral, Function: adjective – not moral; broadly: conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles

  18. Nick Carr is only stating the obvious, IT functions better as a commodity, and the 60s drippy New Agey New Web Masters, sure have alotta kooky ideas afoot. Amazing how worked up people get when you despiritualize the machines.

    The Promised Land is paved with HDTV? I get to God via video stream? What about churches that use open source or go Linux, or even still this Reformed Calvinist church I used to goto that used OpenOffice, that immoral? :)

    amoral – Function: adjective – being neither moral nor immoral; specifically: lying outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply.

    immoral, Function: adjective – not moral; broadly: conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles

  19. You should have bashed me for misspelling “amoral.”

    But, here’s Dictionary.com’s definition of amoral:

    Not admitting of moral distinctions or judgments; neither moral nor immoral.
    Lacking moral sensibility; not caring about right and wrong.

    And, if you read Brian Bailey’s blog, you’ll find that he makes moral judgments all the time, and that he definitely cares about right and wrong.

    In fact, I do too. Maybe you should go back and read what I told Steve Ballmer about that anti-discrimination proposal.

  20. You should have bashed me for misspelling “amoral.”

    But, here’s Dictionary.com’s definition of amoral:

    Not admitting of moral distinctions or judgments; neither moral nor immoral.
    Lacking moral sensibility; not caring about right and wrong.

    And, if you read Brian Bailey’s blog, you’ll find that he makes moral judgments all the time, and that he definitely cares about right and wrong.

    In fact, I do too. Maybe you should go back and read what I told Steve Ballmer about that anti-discrimination proposal.

  21. I’m not saying that Robert Scoble or Brian Bailey (or anyone else) lacks “moral sensibility.” I’m saying the web lacks moral sensibility, and we can’t assume that it will make the world a better place.

  22. I’m not saying that Robert Scoble or Brian Bailey (or anyone else) lacks “moral sensibility.” I’m saying the web lacks moral sensibility, and we can’t assume that it will make the world a better place.

  23. Paul,

    The internet has facilitated communications and information sharing. The communications and information sharing is what has improved the world. The pipeline (web) is totally neutral, and if you care to look, you will find that there may be as many evil sites as there are positive sites.

    Nazis are there, white haters, anti-semites, religious nuts, hate sites, free love sites, everything in humanity is on the web, but the web is neutral, it will exchange anything without regard to its ability to make the world a better place, or good or evil.

    The web may assist megalomaniac dictators to take over all of humanity, as well as it may save the world from eco-disaster. It fits the definition of amoral almost perfectly.

  24. Paul,

    The internet has facilitated communications and information sharing. The communications and information sharing is what has improved the world. The pipeline (web) is totally neutral, and if you care to look, you will find that there may be as many evil sites as there are positive sites.

    Nazis are there, white haters, anti-semites, religious nuts, hate sites, free love sites, everything in humanity is on the web, but the web is neutral, it will exchange anything without regard to its ability to make the world a better place, or good or evil.

    The web may assist megalomaniac dictators to take over all of humanity, as well as it may save the world from eco-disaster. It fits the definition of amoral almost perfectly.

  25. The internet is merely a reflection of its denizens.

    Insofar as the web allows anyone, anywhere, to assert their identity, beliefs and culture – it is a powerful medium which cannot be denied. If anyone doubts this, then take a look at the explosion of blogging in 3rd world countries. There’s a real hope there that change – political change, social reform, economic improvement – can be instigated by vocalizing one’s own identity and “story” on the web.

    Anyone who says this isn’t a moral issue really hasn’t examined in any detail the politics of free speech as it has evolved over the past 2000 years.

    Now, having said that, conflating the moral issue of free speech and social participation with the “morality” and “moral sensibility” of the web is incorrect. It’s compares the philosophical underpinings of the web with the concept of “belief systems.” What anyone really believes is not the issue here – the fact that the internet gives them the agency to express those belief systems IS the issue.

    Now this is where I think I differ from Nick’s interpretation. Can Web 2.0 make the world a better place? Absolutely. Did free speech make a difference? Over the past 2000 years, has literacy made a difference? Absolutely. Why turn our back on the lessons history has taught us?

    In my opinion, Web 2.0 ranks neither above, nor below, the invention of moveable type.

  26. The internet is merely a reflection of its denizens.

    Insofar as the web allows anyone, anywhere, to assert their identity, beliefs and culture – it is a powerful medium which cannot be denied. If anyone doubts this, then take a look at the explosion of blogging in 3rd world countries. There’s a real hope there that change – political change, social reform, economic improvement – can be instigated by vocalizing one’s own identity and “story” on the web.

    Anyone who says this isn’t a moral issue really hasn’t examined in any detail the politics of free speech as it has evolved over the past 2000 years.

    Now, having said that, conflating the moral issue of free speech and social participation with the “morality” and “moral sensibility” of the web is incorrect. It’s compares the philosophical underpinings of the web with the concept of “belief systems.” What anyone really believes is not the issue here – the fact that the internet gives them the agency to express those belief systems IS the issue.

    Now this is where I think I differ from Nick’s interpretation. Can Web 2.0 make the world a better place? Absolutely. Did free speech make a difference? Over the past 2000 years, has literacy made a difference? Absolutely. Why turn our back on the lessons history has taught us?

    In my opinion, Web 2.0 ranks neither above, nor below, the invention of moveable type.

  27. Robert, I rarely comment on blogs, but this just got me. You just don’t get it… Carr’s point is that the web is neutral, like a knife – a knife can cut out tumours or stab you in the heart. The knife doesn’t care and the existence of knives isn’t some sort of harbinger of a coming utopia.

    The web itself makes no moral judgements and, by itself, won’t improve anything. Yes, people may post their own moral musing there, but there’s no direct path from Web 2.0 to salvation, unlike what some pundits predict.

    I really hate getting personal, but are you so dull that you don’t see the how the web (in any version) is amoral? Or is your definition of the web different from Carr’s where you see people and not technology? If so, it would be a lot more useful if you just said that as opposed to just contradicting him over and over, which makes you sound, well, dumb.

  28. Robert, I rarely comment on blogs, but this just got me. You just don’t get it… Carr’s point is that the web is neutral, like a knife – a knife can cut out tumours or stab you in the heart. The knife doesn’t care and the existence of knives isn’t some sort of harbinger of a coming utopia.

    The web itself makes no moral judgements and, by itself, won’t improve anything. Yes, people may post their own moral musing there, but there’s no direct path from Web 2.0 to salvation, unlike what some pundits predict.

    I really hate getting personal, but are you so dull that you don’t see the how the web (in any version) is amoral? Or is your definition of the web different from Carr’s where you see people and not technology? If so, it would be a lot more useful if you just said that as opposed to just contradicting him over and over, which makes you sound, well, dumb.

  29. Ethan: yes, I do see the Web as people.

    I guess you could say that the telephone network is just amoral. After all, it’s just pieces of glass and copper. But, I see that as a way of connecting people. People can be amoral, or can have quite high morals. That was my point.

    Last week, for instance, you learned on my Channel 9 site about microfinance. You learned that on Microsoft’s dime, too, and Microsoft didn’t get anything out of that. It wasn’t a product pitch, or a way to make us all richer.

  30. Ethan: yes, I do see the Web as people.

    I guess you could say that the telephone network is just amoral. After all, it’s just pieces of glass and copper. But, I see that as a way of connecting people. People can be amoral, or can have quite high morals. That was my point.

    Last week, for instance, you learned on my Channel 9 site about microfinance. You learned that on Microsoft’s dime, too, and Microsoft didn’t get anything out of that. It wasn’t a product pitch, or a way to make us all richer.

  31. Robert,

    Sorry for calling you dumb. It was just weird watching you “talk past” the other people in the thread, like you hadn’t written what they wrote.

    Anyway, I still think Carr has a valid point, which I took as being that a web site, regardless of how fancy it is, does not improvement make.

  32. Robert,

    Sorry for calling you dumb. It was just weird watching you “talk past” the other people in the thread, like you hadn’t written what they wrote.

    Anyway, I still think Carr has a valid point, which I took as being that a web site, regardless of how fancy it is, does not improvement make.

  33. Ethan: >>Anyway, I still think Carr has a valid point, which I took as being that a web site, regardless of how fancy it is, does not improvement make.

    That’s like saying water is wet. I’m still not sure what the point is here or what action Carr wanted me to take. And his lead paragraph got off on this religious mumbo jumbo, which probably did get me off track. I’m not here to get you to join my cult.

  34. Ethan: >>Anyway, I still think Carr has a valid point, which I took as being that a web site, regardless of how fancy it is, does not improvement make.

    That’s like saying water is wet. I’m still not sure what the point is here or what action Carr wanted me to take. And his lead paragraph got off on this religious mumbo jumbo, which probably did get me off track. I’m not here to get you to join my cult.

  35. Robert, you could post the cure for friggin’ cancer on Channel 9, that would not make channel 9 OR the web inherently good or bad. It is a collection of technologies. Nothing more

    It is only the USE of those technologies that is good or bad, or (usually) a bit of both.

    That is a fact. There’s no argument that supercedes or changes that.

    If you insist on ascribing moral characteristics to non-living inorganic matter, then you must also accede to the POV that many have which ascribe the moral characteristic of “evil” to Microsoft, because it’s the same inane thought process that does both.

    again…not living, can’t be anything BUT amoral.

  36. Robert, you could post the cure for friggin’ cancer on Channel 9, that would not make channel 9 OR the web inherently good or bad. It is a collection of technologies. Nothing more

    It is only the USE of those technologies that is good or bad, or (usually) a bit of both.

    That is a fact. There’s no argument that supercedes or changes that.

    If you insist on ascribing moral characteristics to non-living inorganic matter, then you must also accede to the POV that many have which ascribe the moral characteristic of “evil” to Microsoft, because it’s the same inane thought process that does both.

    again…not living, can’t be anything BUT amoral.

  37. Also remember, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Guns just help. Guns are amoral.

    Only YOU can prevent forest fires. Fire is amoral.

    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Bushes are amoral. I’ve met some evil birds though.

  38. Also remember, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Guns just help. Guns are amoral.

    Only YOU can prevent forest fires. Fire is amoral.

    A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Bushes are amoral. I’ve met some evil birds though.

  39. Robert,

    If you did not understand the article and couldn’t read why did you take to comment at it. Try to understand the writters point before you comment on it – or otherwise you might sound stupid or ignorant.

    May I suggest you read a little on philosophy, maybe it will help you understand better what Nick is talking about. And please don’t bother reading wikipedia or wikibooks … find something of a better quality.

    And by the way the telephone network is amoral, as is your voicemail, and the SMS network – is the people who call you, or that leave a message, or text you that are immoral/moral/amoral.

  40. Robert,

    If you did not understand the article and couldn’t read why did you take to comment at it. Try to understand the writters point before you comment on it – or otherwise you might sound stupid or ignorant.

    May I suggest you read a little on philosophy, maybe it will help you understand better what Nick is talking about. And please don’t bother reading wikipedia or wikibooks … find something of a better quality.

    And by the way the telephone network is amoral, as is your voicemail, and the SMS network – is the people who call you, or that leave a message, or text you that are immoral/moral/amoral.

  41. Sorry had a typo on the previous post. I meant:
    “If you did not understand the article and couldn’t read why did you take the time to comment at it.”

  42. Sorry had a typo on the previous post. I meant:
    “If you did not understand the article and couldn’t read why did you take the time to comment at it.”

  43. Wikipedia has problems

    So finally Wikipedia admits to quality problems .  And serious quality problems at that.
    About time.  While I admire the concept behind Wikipedia  I can’t help but feel that the project went seriously astray years ago and at…