Les Foules intelligentes (Smart Mobs) et notre Interview d’Howard Rheingold

La bibliothèque NextModerne, Foules intelligentes, Howard Rheingold interviewé par Denis FaillyHoward Rheingold, M2 Editions, 2005

L’auteur qui fut parmi les premiers à étudier les communautés virtuelles sur internet, nous emmène dans un voyage d’observation, du japon aux pays nordiques et naturellement dans les labos et firmes technologiques américaines, pour nous faire découvrir les technologies en cours ou à venir et surtout les usages voire les dangers de ces nouveaux « instruments » de mobilités, de diffusion, de mobilisation des foules intelligentes (smart mobs)

Quelques mots (en anglais) que l’auteur a bien voulu nous accorder

Denis Failly« Howard Rheingold, could you explain us the step or the intuition that drive you to »Smart mobs » ? »

Howard Rheingold La bibliothèque NextModerne, Howard Rheingold- « In 2000, you didn’t see people in the USA using SMS, the way people in much of the world were already doing. I was startled to see so many people in the streets of Tokyo looking at their telephone screens, instead of just listening to them, and then thumbing in messages. A few weeks later, when I noticed how people were doing the same thing in Helsinki, I realized that some kind of worldwide phenomenon was occurring. Having chronicled the emergence of the personal computer in Tools for Thought and the rise of the social Internet in The Virtual Community, I realized that a third technosocial revolution was just beginning to happen as the personal computer, the mobile telephone, and the Internet began to merge into a new medium. We don’t have a name for the new medium yet. »

Denis Failly« What are the main features which qualify the best the « Smart mob » revolution ? »

Howard Rheingold - « Small and large groups of people use mobile communications and the Internet to organize collective action in new ways, with people they weren’t able to organize activity with before, on scales, in places, and at paces that were not possible before. This is happening politically — the demonstrations that brought down the President of the Philippines and tipped elections in Korea and Spain were self-organized via SMS. It is happening economically (eBay, Google Adsense for bloggers, Amazon shops are examples). It is happening socially with blogs, wikis, myspace, mobile social software. »

Denis Failly« Regarding the dangers you figure in your book why remain optimistic ? And how do you comtemplate the evolution of Internet in short and mid terms ? »

« 1. If you had seen the state of civilization, the horrible things people did to each other, and the direction of events in 5000 BC, 100 AD, 1500, or 1800, it would have been difficult to remain optimistic. Maybe we’re reaching the end of our runway. Or maybe the future always looks dim to those who look closely. »

« 2. I don’t call myself an optimist. It’s hard to know a little about history and a little about current events without harboring very deep fears about the kind of future we are steering (or not steering) toward. However, nihilism isn’t a pleasant way to live. Since I haven’t killed myself, I’ve decided to be hopeful. Hopeful is different from optimistic. Optimistic assumes that everything will turn out all right. Hopeful assumes that we have a chance to avert disaster. »

« 3. If you look at individuals, species, civilizations that succeed in averting disaster, they were never pessimists who assumed there was no way out of their predicament. If you want to survive, you want to begin by thinking like a survivor. « There must be some way out. Where is it? » might or might not succeed as a way to live. But it has a marginally better chance of succeeding than « we’re doomed. »

Denis Failly – « Thank you »

Le site du livre, Smart Mobs
Le site d’Howard Rheingold

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