Rare books are made common. Hard to find music is laid at your fingertips. Old photographs. Out of print magazine articles. The internet is slowly gobbling up all these things and making them available to the world. At the touch of a few buttons.
Soon, there will be no such thing as digital rarity. If it can be represented in ones and zeroes, it can become infinitely copied in cyberspace. (Of course, there will still be rare things in the world, maybe clean water and air and food. Hopefully, smart scientists are working on those problems right now.)
Computers can also make ideas that are rare into ideas that are common.
The Arab Spring was fueled by technology and social media. We saw millions of people throughout the middle east and Northern Africa standing up and demanding democracy. Technology took a formerly miniscule idea and made it powerful and mighty. That miniscule idea was that everyone has rights.
But the converse is also true. The internet took a formerly powerful, god-given, unchanging idea, and reduced it to ashes in a matter of weeks.
That powerful idea was that mankind will be ruled forever by dictators.
In the future, the internet will make many dominant paradigms flip-flop. The minority will be majority and the rulers will be moot.
I’m paraphrasing Bob Dylan who paraphrased Christ, but those who are first now will soon be last.
The warning signs are here. Watch out the next time you’re feeling comfortable being in the majority when all your friends are in agreement and everyone is nodding their head and patting you on the back when you speak.
You and your ideas may soon be the next victims of the inverse-net.