The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy
by Andrew Keen
Amateur hour has arrived, and the audience is running the show! Silicon Valley insider and pundit Andrew Keen exposes the grave consequences of today ... Show synopsis Amateur hour has arrived, and the audience is running the show! Silicon Valley insider and pundit Andrew Keen exposes the grave consequences of today's new digital media in this lively, readable and witty polemic, which reveals how an avalanche of amateur content is threatening our values, economy, and ultimately innovation and creativity itself. Highly topical, provocative and controversial - the counter-argument to "The Long Tail", "The Wisdom of Crowds" and the 'mad utopians' of Web 2.0, it is a wake-up call offering concrete solutions on how we can rein in this assault. Our most valued cultural institutions - our professional newspapers, magazines, music, and movies - are being overtaken by an avalanche of amateur, user-generated free content. In today's self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion, however ill-informed, can publish a blog, post a video on YouTube, or change an entry on Wikipedia, the distinction between trained expert and uninformed amateur becomes dangerously blurred. When anonymous bloggers and videographers, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can alter the public debate and manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented. Our "cut-and-paste" online culture - in which intellectual property is freely swapped, downloaded, remashed, and aggregated - threatens over 200 years of copyright protection and intellectual property rights, robbing artists, authors, journalists, musicians, editors, and producers of the fruits of their creative labours. Further, advertising revenue is being siphoned off by free classified ads on sites like Craigslist; television networks are under attack from free user-generated programming on YouTube and the like; file-sharing and digital piracy have devastated the multibillion-dollar music business and threaten to undermine our movie industry. The very anonymity that Web 2.0 offers calls into question the reliability of the information we receive and creates an environment in which sexual predators and identity thieves can roam free. While no Luddite-Keen pioneered several Internet startups himself - he urges us to consider the consequences of blindly supporting a culture that endorses plagiarism and piracy and that fundamentally weakens traditional media and creative institutions.