More from Asymmetrical Information. Mindles Dreck asks as an aside in one of his posts:
"Will ubiquitous access to information and communication change our actual beliefs and behavior?" I believe it will. This is something I have been meaning to write about for a while.

Hypertext has the revolutionary potential to put the grist of political debate within easy reach. Right now, a lot of real-world political debates end up with my facts, and with my opponent's facts. The two are incompatible, but it is too difficult to check facts to make it worth continuing the argument.

Back when usenet was the net forum for political debate (there being no web at the time), it was quite common to see debates boil down to one party telling the other to read a book. Nobody was convinced. Occasionally facts would be online, but it was still rather difficult to get at them using ftp or (god forbid) gopher.

With HTTP, facts are much easier to present to one's opponent. It is easy to say I don't have the time to go to a library and read a book. It is hard to say I don't have the time to click on a link and read a page or two.

In the future, everything worth knowing will be on the net. That is not a prediction that people will digitize everything (although I think that - people will digitize most things we currently can't get at). It's a prediction about how people will regard sources - there will be a point at which if a source is not on the net, people will not take it seriously. Much the same way that we currently regard people's recollections of old conversations.

Even now, the net is far more libertarian than the population at large. Part of that is a selection effect - younger people tend to be socially liberal, and predominate in networked social interactions. But part of it is the educational effect of being on the net. I should know - I came to anarchism from a soft libertarianism via the net.

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