‘Cloud Culture’: future if the internet and global cultural relations (Charles Leadbeater)

Press release on BC report ‘Cloud Culture’:  Also for a introduction see: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/leadbeater10/leadbeater10_index.html

This report discusses (in a round about way) the issue of the cultural impact of cloud computing ideas. In particular how the exposive growth in cultural heritage on the web, plus the explosion in its availability (through cloud) , will create a new “exponential growth in mass cultural expression” which is “the cultural cloud”.

Cultural relations is dominanted by small centers of production (e.g. hollywood) and Leadbeater argues a rather old argument (but still relevant) about the dilusion of local culture by this hegmony by fluid mobility (Ulrick Beck is introduced here). In summary Cloud Computing will provide a greater diversity of cultural expression. Technology cost is no longer an issue (as it was dominant in the time of Hollywood in the 1960s).”decentralised, plural and collaborative; less hierarchical, proprietary and money driven; the boundaries between amateur and professional, consumer and producer, grassroots and mainstream breached, if not erased”.

In contrast however he warns that this is not a guarentee. Power, vested interest, governments and companies may struggle to resit this change.

Campaigning is an interesting case in point. Authoritarian governments close the web and mobile network in times of difficulty (Iran, China, Thailand etc).  DoS attacks on platforms, and the shere numbers of people v.s activists make a dent. He points out that 0.027% of Iran’s population of internet users provided tweets during the recent demonstrations.

He argues that cultural exchange using Clouds demands:

1) Free-speech and association (supported by the internet tools)

2) Copyright issues and intellectual property issues be addresssed.

3) Avoiding corporate control of the cultural cloud.

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