Law in the Internet Society

Three Phases of Human Sociality

Elliott Ash

A three-phase model of human social interaction is presented:

  • Phase 1: Prehistoric tribal/familial communities
  • Phase 2: Market economies
  • Phase 3: The internet

In Phase 1, social networks are organized around genes. Interactions exist between relatives, close relatives, and mates.

In Phase 2, social networks are organized geographically. The emergence of civilized behavior allows economic and social transaction with the members of everyone in one's geographic community.

In Phase 3, social networks are organized conceptually. The internet enables unmediated social connection between any individual. Geography no longer meaningfully restricts the range of possible social partners, so communities organize around information: e.g., ideas, habits, and tastes.

Social control

  • Phase 1: reciprocal reward and punishment
  • Phase 2: legal system
  • Phase 3: State instruments of social control are no longer necessary, because individuals can no longer hurt each other.

In the later phases, emotions increasingly lose their importance for enforcement of social norms and the punishment of deviance. As the range of social partners increases, deviance becomes normalized as subcommunities develop. In the cities of Phase 2, those subcommunities can develop around most deviant subcultures. In Phase 3, deviance no longer exists.

Conceptualizations of personhood evolve. In Phase 1, out-groups are dehumanized. In Phase 2, personhood is extended to all humans (and sometimes to pets). In Phase 3, physical indicia of humanness are no longer evident, reducing humanness to its cognitive and communicative components. In Phase 3, computer programs that can mimic these components are subjectively indistinguishable.




Webs Webs

r2 - 30 Nov 2008 - 05:30:09 - ElliottAsh
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM