Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What Happened to the Internet?

It had so much promise. I was a true believer, in both the power of the internet and self-publishing to free us from the shackles of the gatekeepers. It hasn't turned out the way I had hoped.

The internet has morphed from a decentralized collection of authors and ideas to an advertising medium dominated by a few huge players: Facebook, Twitter, Google and some smaller players. I do believe some people think Facebook IS the internet now. I read an article in Vanity Fair recently about this very topic. In it, Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the worldwide web, expressed some regret:

"Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation."

"'The increasing centralization of the Web, he says, has “ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.'”

"The power of the Web wasn’t taken or stolen. We, collectively, by the billions, gave it away with every signed user agreement and intimate moment shared with technology. Facebook, Google, and Amazon now monopolize almost everything that happens online, from what we buy to the news we read to who we like. Along with a handful of powerful government agencies, they are able to monitor, manipulate, and spy in once unimaginable ways."
Read the entire article.

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