Zittrain on the Generative Internet
This is the first paper I'm going to read as soon as I get trainload of work done: Johnatan Zittrain's The Generative Internet, now up for download at SSRN. I found his previous papers very insightful and readable, with a great analysis that's not blurred by ideological fog as (much as) you'll find with some other (Harvard) über-cyberprofs.
Here's the abstract:
Here's the abstract:
The power and flexibility of the Internet has ignited growth and innovation in information technology and in associated creative endeavors, its "generativity" soliciting contribution from varied audiences. This very power and flexibility projected across millions of mainstream users has also become a vehicle for security threats that endanger its many desired uses. This Article describes how the intertwining of the highly generative personal computer and Internet is creating an information technology "grid" that will find itself in grave crisis with no easy fix.
The most direct responses to the crisis, both by regulators and through market forces reflecting a shift in consumer attitudes about the importance of technology reliability, will enable the sort of locked-down Internet that publishers and some regulators have so far favored but been unable to bring about.
Those who treasure the Internet's generative features must assess the prospects for sufficiently either satisfying or frustrating the forces in question so that a radically different technology configuration need not come about. I believe that a different-in-kind Internet is likely quite difficult to avoid. It is precisely while the future is uncertain that those who care about openness and the positive disruption it generates should not sacrifice the good to the perfect by seeking simply to maintain a tenuous technological status quo in the face of inexorable change. Rather, we should establish the principles that will blunt the most unappealing features of a more locked-down technological future while acknowledging that an unprecedented and, to many who work in technology, genuinely unthinkable level of enclosure is likely to be the rule from which we must negotiate and justify exceptions.
- - -Thru Urs Gasser, who's calling it groundbreaking and a must-read.