Sunday, September 03, 2006

Infotopia

I was excited the other day when I found a new book by Cass R. Sunstein, it is called "Infotopia -- how many minds produce knowledge". The excitement was caused by my high appreciation of an earlier book from him "Republic.com". But, I am quiet disappointed. The book is far from precise in its argumentation, not at all in the same fashion as in Republic.com. I am no expert in the field of deliberation, but I have problems with accepting some of Sunstein's basic assumptions. I think that one of the difficulties stem from the fact that I read the book as if it is about change and development, but I think it is about "what-is". I am of course reading through the lens of design thinking and with that lens there are so many things that are not only strange with Sunstein's argumentation but wrong and also quite uninteresting. Changing the world is not necessarily about knowing about what-is and how things are. Change and design is about will and desire. Neither deliberation or prediction markets (two of Sunsteins core concepts) are closely related with change when it comes to true design thinking and action. There are a lot to be said about the gathering of information in the form of wikis and other means but that is not something that in itself lead to change, which is why wikis work well although people have distinctly different wishes and desires. Anyhow, I am disappointed but I still would like to see more from Sunstein.

(I am also quite unhappy with the text itself, there are many, many repeats of the same arguments and more or less identical phrases. I get the feeling that the book is written too fast and without any real critique before publishing.)

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