We-Think, By Charles Leadbetter

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The Independent Culture

We-Think belongs to the genre of futurology, its thesis being that the web will radically alter the way we think. Instead of conceiving of ourselves as independent "I"-machines, in some areas we are seeing ourselves as part of a greater "We", as exemplified by Wikipedia. According to Leadbetter, this shared thinking could be a huge force for change – in innovation, employment and advancing equality and freedom.

There is thoughtful consideration of the dangers, too (such as herd-thinking), and reasoned optimism that their effects can be countered. Leadbetter uses the full scholarly apparatus – references, footnotes and a 16-page bibliography – to argue the case. But my reservation is that We-Think is not a good ad for the cause it promotes. Large chunks were posted online in draft form, and the published version is the result of input from the We-Thinking public. Yet the prose is pedestrian, and not nearly exciting enough for the ideas it advances.