«Εάν δώσεις σε έναν απεριόριστο αριθμό πιθήκων από μια γραφομηχανή κάποια στιγμή, κάποιος από αυτούς θα γράψει ένα πραγματικό αριστούργημα…»
"Σύμφωνα με τη Wikipedia είμαι η Μόνα Λίζα..."
Worse still, the supposed “democratisation” of the web has been a sham. “Despite its lofty idealisation it’s undermining truth, souring civic discourse, and belittling expertise, experience and talent,” he says. Take the much vaunted “wisdom of crowds”, which has led to the astonishing growth of the free online reference work Wikipedia. The English site alone boasts 1.8m articles freely contributed by ordinary web users and more are created every minute.
But as the sum of what we all know and agree, the wisdom of crowds has no greater value than Trivial Pursuit. Wikipedia is full of mistakes, half truths and misunderstandings. What happens if you try to do something about it? William Connolley, a climate modeller at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and an expert on global warming, disagreed with a Wikipedia editor over a particular entry on the site. After trying to correct inaccuracies Connolley was accused of trying to remove “any point of view which does not match his own”. Eventually he was limited to making just one edit a day.
Arbitrating on the dispute, Wikipedia gave no weight to his expertise, and treated him with the same credibility as his anonymous opponent. “The consequences of this dismissal of traditional, credentialed experts are both chilling and absurd,” says Keen.
“What defines the best minds,” Keen argues, “is their ability to go beyond the ‘wisdom’ of the crowd and mainstream opinion.” Wikipedia is premised on a contrary theory of truth that would have seemed familiar to George Orwell: if the crowd says that two plus two equals five, then two plus two really does equal five.
Wikipedia, with its millions of amateur editors and unreliable content, is the 17th most trafficked site on the net. Britannica.com, a subscription-based service with 100 Nobel prize-winning contributors and more than 4,000 other experts is ranked 5,128. As a result, Britannica has had to make painful cuts in staffing and editorial.