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Mark Pesce on "Hypercivility" at @CivicHall

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, February 26 2015

Mark Pesce speaking at Civic Hall in NYC Feb 26 2015

A week ago, digital ethnologist Mark Pesce gave a talk here at Civic Hall on the topic of "Hypercivility." As you will see from watching the video, it's an extension of years of research and thinking he has done on the effects of hyperconnectivity on our world. Be forewarned, this is not an "easy" talk to watch or digest. While Pesce definitely has our social-media-powered "Age of Outrage" on his mind, he grounds his talk in a much more serious place: post-genocide Rwanda, which he recently visited.

Humans, Pesce says, like their cousins the apes, may have inherent capacities (if not tendencies) for murderous, genocidal rage. And when we let ourselves accentuate our differences, history shows we are capable of great horror. Is that where social media is headed? I don't think that Pesce is saying that. But his talk offers both a warning and a potential way back from that abyss, again drawn from today's Rwanda, where the once-highly-divisive racial categories of Hutu and Tutsi have been banished from public discourse.

[Warning: Some of the images in Pesce's talk are from the Rwandan genocide and may be disturbing.]

The slides for Pesce's talk can be found here.