21 digital myths : reality distortion antidote
ANDREW KEEN, author of The Cult of the Amateur
Reality distortion fieldoriginally a phrase used to describe Apple founder Steve Jobs magnetic charisma and ability to convince people of his vision, often seemingly against better judgement. Today, the reality distortion field seems to have expanded from Jobs himself, encompassing many of the Silicon Valley companies and its leaders. Their gospel is enthralling: you can have it all, free communication, free entertainment, on-demand transport, a global audience for your creative expression. There is no charge and in fact you help make the world a better place by digital consumption. Play our cards right, we can live forever and fix death.
If that sounds too good to be true, its because it is. These are not necessarily lies, because the people who say them believe most of it. But theyre myths, false conceptions that we have accepted as true. The myths are disseminated through the media, classic or social, by NGOs, internet activists, policy-makers, you and me. The mystery is not why they exist or how they came about. The mystery is how we came to accept them, integrate them into our understanding of the digital world, and how our governments made them the foundation of their digital policies. Such is the power of the reality distortion field. This books ambition is no less than to be the reality distortion antidote.
Per Strömbäck has spent his working life in digital fields, first as a webmaster in the early days of the Web in the mid-1990s and then in the games industry for two decades, as a game developer, publisher and industry representative. Per Strömbäck is the editor of two anthologies and author of one previous book on digital topics (all in Swedish) and the founder of the tech policy forum Netopia.eu. Per Strömbäck divides his time between Stockholm and Brussels.