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05. 05. 2008

The Future of the Internet by Jonathan Zittrain


I’m hopeful, but with a healthy amount of cynicism. Intellectually, I like to keep things sweet and sour.

So, while I loved and devoured and praised Clay Shirky’s newest book, “Here Comes Everybody,” it was important to couch that experience with a dose of anxiety over the current and future states of the Internet with Johnathan Zittrain’s “The Future of the Internet – And How to Stop It.”

Web 2.0 is (to me) more of a social phenomenon than a technical feat. Living in New York there are social mixers around the Web 2.0 hype nearly nightly, and I guess because I’ve always been a happy malcontent, I’m more critical of what we’re all really accomplishing tossing back cheap chardonnay and exchanging business cards.

Zittrain reveals that the Internet and our production of technologies and devices around it are on a path to a “lockdown,” a day where we will stop innovating. I know a roomful of “Web 2.0’rs” who would scoff at the notion.

Still, if you read his argument and you pause and consider how many physical and temporal appliances are “tethered” (not open) and constantly monitored, you may just begin to wonder if he’s onto something. The moment of innovation that became the Internet that caused all this openness and freedom may be (he argues that it is definitely) in jeopardy.

It’s up to the cynics then (not the romantics) – to save it.

Price: $19.80 at Amazon.

Posted by chrissie    Category: culture | current affairs | entertainment
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