The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It

The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It

author: Jonathan Zittrain
name: Elaine
average rating: 3.60
book published: 2008
rating: 4
read at: 2009/04/16
date added: 2009/04/16
shelves: history, politics, read-again, sociology, technology
I want to read this again (probably online), to reabsorb some of the lessons and get a sense of whether I have any part to play in the landscape as it moves forward. (ugh, mixed metaphor roundup!) This is the other book that I read after seeing its author at SXSWi ’09, and in this case, his presentation was on the same topic of the book. So there was a lot that felt familiar, but with more depth and nuance.

"Generativity" is the central metaphor of the book: what allows for it and what are its consequences. It’s a useful construct for understanding a wide variety of phenomenon, from the beginning of the PC to the current technology landscape.

I read someplace recently that most books about the culture of the internet are either optimists or pessimists, and I’d agree with that sentiment generally. What strikes me about Zittrain is that he takes a reasonable middle approach: here’s the awesome parts, here’s how that leads to something scary, here’s something insane that could happen as a reaction, here’s some ways we could work ourselves out of it. I like that.