zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg: Neither Republican, Democrat, Nor Cool

In a conversation in Washington today, Mark Zuckerberg said he thinks of Facebook as a utility for its 1.1 billion worldwide users – the electric company of the 21st century. “I want to produce something that’s a fundamental service for the world,” he said.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Atlantic Editor in Chief James Bennet at the Newseum on Wednesday, the Facebook CEO talked about immigration, the National Security Agency, and how uncool he actually is.

Read more. [Image: Robert Galbraith/Reuters]

Software may reduce humans, but there are degrees. Fiction reduces humans, too, but bad fiction does it more than good fiction, and we have the option to read good fiction. Jaron Lanier’s point is that Web 2.0 “lock-in” happens soon; is happening; has to some degree already happened. And what has been “locked in”? It feels important to remind ourselves, at this point, that Facebook, our new beloved interface with reality, was designed by a Harvard sophomore with a Harvard sophomore’s preoccupations. What is your relationship status? (Choose one. There can be only one answer. People need to know.) Do you have a “life”? (Prove it. Post pictures.) Do you like the right sort of things? (Make a list. Things to like will include: movies, music, books and television, but not architecture, ideas, or plants.)

But here I fear I am becoming nostalgic. I am dreaming of a Web that caters to a kind of person who no longer exists. A private person, a person who is a mystery, to the world and—which is more important—to herself. Person as mystery: this idea of personhood is certainly changing, perhaps has already changed.