Innovation

Andrew Keen: "There has been a structural problem with the Web 2.0 revolution"

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson talked with Andrew Keen, author of How to Fix the Future, about why user-generated content hasn't lived up to the hype.

Recently, TechRepublic's Dan Patterson talked with Andrew Keen, author of the book How to Fix the Future, about how technology has failed society and how to correct things. Here's part of their discussion.

Andrew Keen: "You can always embrace my skepticism, on or off camera. Look, I'm an entrepreneur, background, founded Audiocafe in the late 90's. Most of my closest friends are VCs or entrepreneurs. It's in the blood. I love it. But I saw from a very early time in the Web 2.0 revolution that this thing was going on. In 2007, I wrote Cult of the Amateur, where I suggested that if you do away with curated media with expertise, you undermine truth. And you trash high-quality content. I've been proved to be right. Back then everyone said I was an elitist and wrong; now I think most people agree with me. I wouldn't describe the word you use as skepticism as being accurate. I'm a realist. When something's good, I'll say it's good; when there's a problem, I'll say it's a problem. I'm not naturally skeptical. I don't critique everything.

SEE: IT leader's guide to achieving digital transformation (Tech Pro Research)

The problem is that there was a structure, or there has been a structural problem with the Web 2.0 revolution. Self-generated, user-generated media undermines our culture. The problem is that technology lends itself to a winner-take-all economy, and we need outside regulation, particularly antitrust regulation, to control that. I've been pointing that out for 10 years. That doesn't make me a skeptic; it makes me a realist against the utopians. You don't hear from people like Chris Anderson or Larry Lessig anymore. They used to talk about free content and the long tail. That was all garbage. They are, if not the skeptics, the lunics. I'm the simple realist. Or not such a simple realist, I'm just the realist."

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About Dan Patterson

Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.

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