Nothing about the digital revolution was predicted (well, except, perhaps, by William Gibson.)
IBM was late to the desktop game.
The entire print industry, which more or less had remained unchanged for several centuries, called the advent of the tiny little Macintosh and Pagemaker cute toys, shortly before a whole plethora of union jobs simply vanished, to be replaced by one geek running Quark, Illustrator and Photoshop.
Bill Gates’ 1995 manifesto, The Road Ahead, made no mention of the internet.
People laughed at the idea of Amazon actually turning a profit.
AOL chat rooms were sneeringly described as a pathetic substitute for real life, populated by losers, misfits and perverts; and if you actually found a partner “online,” you didn’t talk much about it.
And certainly, no one expected those quirky chat rooms to blossom into the full-fledged reality of social media—digital, virtual, but every bit as meaningful, and often more so, than clumsy encounters in realtime and realspace.
The legal system still hasn’t caught up to the digital reality. Intellectual property rights? Privacy? No consensus. And how about Bitcoin: crime or economic miracle?
No one expected a search engine to morph into the arbiter of what we’re allowed to know, and, by extension, what we’re allowed to think.
No one foresaw the awesome power that would gather around those fascinating new developments like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, or that such power would end up in the hands of a crop of asocial geeks who came of age in a world of influences, contexts and assumptions vastly different than the image most of the country still retains of who we are and where, and how, we live.
Call it the post-education generation. Their training was blissfully free of the clutter of American History, civics and ethics, unburdened by the insights of dead white men, all of whom were, as Obama put it, landowners (property is theft, remember) and systemic racists as well. What they learned was algorithms, an endless sequence of binary choices that approximates human response, but never quite replicates it.
Sort of like Mark Zuckerberg, who now says what we need is more regulation, to shield us from harmful content. We’ve seen how that has played out already. It’s no mystery who and what is to be deemed harmful. Tellingly, he made his comments in Europe, where increasing regulation is a way of life. But never doubt that such censorship getting carved into the stone tablets of law is the goal and stated purpose, not just of this remarkably lifelike creature, but the entire tech world.
We didn’t see these guys coming, but here they are. It’s time we caught up to current reality and take a direct hand in influencing how it’s going to evolve from this point forward. Otherwise, we may find there’s no place left for us.
developing platforms like this and others will always make the Internet a free space, if you want to you could make local servers that don't even link to the Internet and link them to create a whole new internet that is not connected to the one that was started by the government.