August 1, 2009

Is the Internet making us more ethical?

Ethics of cultural collaboration from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaRita J. King, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council and CEO of Dancing Ink Productions, talks about the ethics of cultural collaboration in this 10-minute video interview immediately after her appearance at the 140 Character Conference on Twitter in New York on June 17.

twitter-greenOur conversation was generally at a 50,000-foot level, looking at the Internet and its role in the development of an ethical culture. Rita uses the model of a Johari window, a square divided into four parts: How I see myself accurately; how I see myself inaccurately; how others see me accurately; and how others see me inaccurately. Participating in the digital culture shakes all those things up, she says, and new technologies are enabling people are able to parse out how they feel about the rituals and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation “which both illuminate the human spirit and shackle us to outdated systems.”

During the panel and in our conversation, Rita questioned whether the efforts in the West to help the street demonstrators are helping or hurting if the tactics are based on deception, such as changing one’s Twitter profile to say you live in Tehran as an expression of solidarity. “Is it putting people on the ground in Tehran in jeopardy if they can’t find each other? Deliberate deception seems like a step backward to me. … And that’s symptomatic of other things that will continue to manifest in the digital culture,” with a debate over how best to achieve a social good.

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