Intelligent writers can produce intelligent prose using almost any instrument, but the medium in which they write will always have some more or less subtle effect on their prose. Karl Popper famously denounced Platonic politics, and the resulting fantasies of a closed, unchanging society, in his book The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945). When I work in Word, for all its luxuriant menus and dazzling prowess, I can’t escape a faint sense of having entered a closed, rule-bound society. When I write in WordPerfect, with all its scruffy, low-tech simplicity, the world seems more open, a place where endings can’t be predicted, where freedom might be real.
Is work—and the link between work and the earning of an income sufficient to live on—so important to society that we should want millions of people to function as meatware: doing jobs sensors and computers could and would do if only there were not an excess supply of humans needing to work in order to afford food and shelter?
Perhaps realizing the shortcomings of its original reviews protocol, Airbnb has recently changed the system to operate as a sort of double-blind submission. That is, neither host nor guest has access to the others’ review until after both have submitted.
Almost immediately, I found myself more willing to be honest in reviews. Considering how central the review system is to the entire structure of Airbnb (or any other sharing economy business), this should goes a long way towards increasing user confidence in reviews.