I enjoyed his talk, and will certainly read some of his work. I noticed a link to a Government Technology interview, Transparent Privacy.
Brin certainly has a refreshing perspective on things. And a very wise one too, in his own “crazy” fashion.
I was reminded of my own PhD. I too wrote about transparency, but also about participation, which I didn’t hear Brin come to (must check). In fact, while I concentrate on transparency in relation to public life, Brin is talking more about the relation to private life, and privacy. Allow me to quote myself:
The Benthamite idea of transparency is in normative terms complementary to Rousseau’s idea of a ‘transparent society’, in that both ideas express a relationship between the ‘comrade’ and the ‘overseer’, but doing so with opposite normative orientation: Bentham arguing that ‘each comrade becomes an overseer’, and Rousseau arguing vice versa. There is, apparently, an asymmetry between the concepts of ‘power through transparency’ and ’emancipation through transparency’. The term ‘transparency’ is not only ambiguous, it is ambivalent. On the one hand, transparency has to do with power structures and the exercise of power, and can, as in the case of Panopticon, be a threat to the individual integrity and autonomy, but it can also function as a means for shaping the individual’s own life agenda if the transparency (and therefore the power) is ‘possessed’ by the individual. On the other hand, transparency has to do with mutual intersubjective transcendence and relations of mutuality and reciprocity, making sharing between individuals possible.
Anyway, why not join me and buy some of Brin’s books via his website or here (both leads to Amazon).