The Future Perfect

Friday, April 18, 2008


Despite the internet’s runaway success, its future is anything but clear. So says Jonathan Zittrain, professor of internet governance at Oxford University. He explains why the very devices and applications that have enabled internet ubiquity may now be limiting innovation.
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Comments [4]

Woods Halley from Minneapolis

I think OTM is great and I admire Brooke Gladstone, but in this interview
I thought I detected a bias that I didn't like. Maybe she was simply trying to voice what she perceived to be a common worry, but I thought she was overemphasizing concern about safety on the internet. In all kinds of large scale human activities there is a tension between liberty and safety. During the Cold War, many commented on how safe it was to walk the streets of Moscow, Hanoi, Bejing etc. Currently on the internet
a struggle is going on which reflects this tension. It will not ever be
completely settled, though it may come into some kind of relatively stable equilibrium, but one should, I think, hope that we do not end up
too close to the I-phone model which is practically alll safety, no liberty
and stagnation. Please do some more on this general topic and please do not come across as being totally on the side of those that want to cllose the commons.

Apr. 21 2008 06:14 PM
David Rowe from Princeton, NJ

Great segment to ponder, OTL, though other commenters no more than I about the specifics of what Zittrain says.

My comment is about one word that Brooke uses during this interview... the word "What?!" when Zittrain mentions the fact that a legal judgment has been made in the Tivo vs. Echostar case that can turn a DVR in your home into a brick. Now that is the very thing I look to OTM to tell me about, and not simply a re-hash of "On the Bush Administration" that as been the bulk of OTM in the last years (helpful as that might be).

Please focus on stories like Tivo vs Echostar that we would get nowhere else, rather than the rehash of political news with a very-barely-there media angle.

Apr. 21 2008 10:41 AM
Tim Johnson from Bloomington, IL

This guy is full of hot air. Or maybe he's just simplifying things for an audience he perceives as dumb. I come from a computer science background and listening to this fellow made me feel as if I was a pre-schooler. The underlying notion that initially raised my hair: that it is somehow pernicious for Steve Jobs to dictate what is "safe" and "unsafe" for your iPhone, yet it is harmless and in fact THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET (IF YOU IDIOTS WOULD JUST LET US DO IT) to let Google do the exact same thing on your home PC. "Just install this little software program to share your PC's vital signs with Google and the rest of the world!" he suggests. I fear this professor with his high-powered credentials neglects to acknowledge the underlying causes of technological maladies: insecure operating systems, networking, and commercial interests. Perhaps that is because he and his research partners are eating out of the palm of the irresponsible corporate governors of all three.

Apr. 20 2008 01:41 PM
Whitney Armstrong from Philadelphia

I find it unfortunate and very disappointing that Jonathan Zittrain makes no acknowledgment of the Free Software Foundation or the open source movement. The founders of these groups, such as Richard Stallman, have long seen and talked about the problems discussed here. I think that this interview totally missed a good opportunity to discuss a real important issue about technology and the internet with respect to its free and unimpeded use.

Apr. 20 2008 12:15 PM

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