Sunday, July 5, 2015

the future that failed

Nicholas  Carr at rough type on how "Progress turns everyone into a nostalgist sooner or later ", riffing on an Atlantic  article by David Weinberger titled “The Internet That Was (and Still Could Be)”, in which an old net-utopian refuses to give up the dream that went so wrong:

Carr: "What the Triumphalists mistook for the one true architecture was merely a foundation, it turns out, and that foundation could support many different kinds of media structures with many different “values.” And so the net gave rise to, for instance, private content distribution networks, or CDNs, which, despite the underlying democratic protocols for information exchange, allowed big companies to distribute their informational wares with greater speed and reliability than the rest of us could afford. On the net, as elsewhere in society, some equals turned out to be more equal than others. “The architecture itself has been distorted by the needs of commercial content creators and their enabling pals,” Weinberger laments. “Paradise has been well and truly paved.” So much for inevitability....
"Weinberger, like the other Triumphalists, has invested much intellectual and emotional capital into the net over the years. And now he arrives at his moment of crisis: the dreaded moment when he has to write off all that investment and declare bankruptcy....  At the moment of accounting, Weinberger loses his intellectual nerve. Rather than offer a critique of the net as it is, he gives in to nostalgia for the net as it was and should be

....As Weinberger makes clear, his work, dating back to The Cluetrain Manifesto, has argued that the “openness” of the net’s protocols would inevitably dissolve traditional sources of economic and political power. Everyone on the net, whether an individual or a corporation, would inevitably act as equals. Rather than pursuing their own interests, they would act as the technology demanded. By suggesting that the net’s democratic future was a fait accompli, a technological necessity, Weinberger abetted the kind of commercialization of the web that he now rues." 

No comments:

Post a Comment