The New York Times' David Brooks writes about the "intellectual hubris" of the financial community which created what he calls an "unconscious conformity". The problem, Brooks says, is that Wall Street's intellectual tools were "worse than useless":
To me, the most interesting factor is the way instant communicationslead to unconscious conformity. You’d think that with thousands of ideas flowing at light speed around the world, you’d get a diversity of viewpoints and expectations that would balance one another out. Instead, global communications seem to have led people in the financial subculture to adopt homogenous viewpoints. They made the same one-way bets at the same time.
Brook's "uniform conformity" isn't unique to Wall Street. I wonder if there's an inverse relationship between technological speed and intellectual diversity. The slower ideas flow around the world, the more viewpoints exist on them. Thus the most troubling consequence of our real-time communications revolution might be intellectual homogeneity.
Take, for example, today's mania for the latest version of Friendfeed, the uber micro-blogging platform. Twitter has been abuzz all morning with friends of Friendfeed eulogizing its new features. The only dissenting voice seems to be that of the eccentric Daily Telegraph blogger Milo Yiannopoulos. Today's speed of communications in products like Friendfeed lends itself to uniformity rather than nuanced debate. Everyone seems to be in such a rush to discover the newest new thing that they aren't able to stop and think hard about what it is they are supposed to be thinking about.
Yiannopoulos question of "what is the point of Friendfeed" might be broadened to "what is the point of instantaneous global communications?"