The Age of Radical Transparency

The term radical transparency was originally used to refer to corporations and was a management approach in which (ideally) all decision making is carried out publicly. It is now being applied to the Internet.

Behind Facebook’s element of confession is radical transparency. Mark Zuckerburg, inventor of Facebook suggests, “more transparency should make for a more tolerant society in which people eventually accept that everybody sometimes does bad or embarrassing things.” Facebook and other social networking sites have made it the norm in society to open up online or be an outsider. We are moving towards an even more open society with millions of people signing up for Facebook and other social media accounts and sharing photos and personal information online for anyone to see.

The problem with this notion of radical transparency as Dr. Strangelove states, “is that we’re involved in it and corporations are not,” thus, “moving society into an unequal future, where the powerful are becoming increasingly opaque to us.” As the rich and powerful hide behind privacy policies and laws, average people are sharing more and more about themselves; becoming radically transparent online. Thus, giving corporations the ability to profile us based on insight into our lives. This is only making corporations and those in power all the more powerful over the average human being.

David Brin phrases the threat of radical transparency perfectly in his book, The Transparent Society, when he says,”sacrificing anonymity may be the next generation’s price for keeping precious liberty, as prior generations paid in blood.”

By: Nicole Johns


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