Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reed's Law of Anonymity

What if drivers could in their heads up display (or Google Goggles?) know who the individuals in the cars around them are? What they if they could see the information available on a persons facebook page that is public - aside from those who wish to remain private, but whose names are still available?

Here is what I think would happen. I think we would see decreased instances of road rage across the country. I think that if drivers were no longer anonymous it would help substantially decrease erratic or irrational driver behavior. Not only could individuals "report" people who are driving recklessly, but just based on human behavior alone, people would be more pleasant, more patient, and more aware of how they are driving on the road if they are also aware that the people they
share the road with know who they are. As evidence, anyone who has read comments on news websites knows that once anonymity is gone, positive behaviors increase dramatically. Visit any local news website prior to facebook integration and compare the comments left on news stories to similar comment threads left after facebook integration. I believe you would find that with reduced anonymity, comes increasingly more positive discourse. Feel free to use it - just call it Reed's Law of Anonymity.

We live in an age where the digital frontier is exactly that, a frontier that because of anonymity people display more negative or harmful behavior. It's time for a new sheriff in town that can clean up the trash on this frontier, just like in the days of Wyatt Earp.

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