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Social Networks The Internet Facebook

'An Apology for the Internet -- from the People Who Built It' (nymag.com) 180

"Those who designed our digital world are aghast at what they created," argues a new article in New York Magazine titled "The Internet Apologizes". Today, the most dire warnings are coming from the heart of Silicon Valley itself. The man who oversaw the creation of the original iPhone believes the device he helped build is too addictive. The inventor of the World Wide Web fears his creation is being "weaponized." Even Sean Parker, Facebook's first president, has blasted social media as a dangerous form of psychological manipulation. "God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains," he lamented recently...

The internet's original sin, as these programmers and investors and CEOs make clear, was its business model. To keep the internet free -- while becoming richer, faster, than anyone in history -- the technological elite needed something to attract billions of users to the ads they were selling. And that something, it turns out, was outrage. As Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in virtual reality, points out, anger is the emotion most effective at driving "engagement" -- which also makes it, in a market for attention, the most profitable one. By creating a self-perpetuating loop of shock and recrimination, social media further polarized what had already seemed, during the Obama years, an impossibly and irredeemably polarized country... What we're left with are increasingly divided populations of resentful users, now joined in their collective outrage by Silicon Valley visionaries no longer in control of the platforms they built.

Lanier adds that "despite all the warnings, we just walked right into it and created mass behavior-modification regimes out of our digital networks." Sean Parker, the first president of Facebook, is even quoted as saying that a social-validation feedback loop is "exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators -- it's me, it's Mark [Zuckerberg], it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people -- understood this consciously. And we did it anyway."

The article includes quotes from Richard Stallman, arguing that data privacy isn't the problem. "The problem is that these companies are collecting data about you, period. We shouldn't let them do that. The data that is collected will be abused..." He later adds that "We need a law that requires every system to be designed in a way that achieves its basic goal with the least possible collection of data... No company is so important that its existence justifies setting up a police state."

The article proposes hypothetical solutions. "Could a subscription model reorient the internet's incentives, valuing user experience over ad-driven outrage? Could smart regulations provide greater data security? Or should we break up these new monopolies entirely in the hope that fostering more competition would give consumers more options?" Some argue that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 shields internet companies from all consequences for bad actors -- de-incentivizing the need to address them -- and Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, thinks the solution is new legislation. "The government is going to have to be involved. You do it exactly the same way you regulated the cigarette industry. Technology has addictive qualities that we have to address, and product designers are working to make those products more addictive. We need to rein that back."

'An Apology for the Internet -- from the People Who Built It'

Comments Filter:
  • already got 'em. use 'em.
    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      Er, what? We have essentially no laws preventing data collection. In fact, we've recently removed most of the few protections that we did have. We also have essentially no laws addressing physiological addiction other than gambling, most laws about addiction center around physically addictive substances - i.e.: Coke now has to remove the addictive chemical from cocoa leaves, so that their customers are no longer physically addicted to their product.

      Which laws are you suggesting that they use in this case
      • by doccus ( 2020662 )

        .... i.e.: Coke now has to remove the addictive chemical from cocoa leaves, so that their customers are no longer physically addicted to their product.....

        OOH! Cocoa leaves have addictive chemicals? I'm gonna run and get me some cocoa puffs!
        Silly me, eh? I thought it was just coca leaves....

      • Just to be pedantic and make a point of fact (hey, after all it's /. if there's a place to be pedantic it's here), the amount of cocaine at the highest levels was only 9mg per glass, and oral bioavailability is very very low, so it's FAR below the level that would cause addiction, much less physical addiction (it's mainly psychological, physical requires a huge habit).
        • by pots ( 5047349 )
          That's fine, I appreciate pedantry. I will also point out that I said above, "physiological addiction other than gambling" when I had really meant to say "psychological addiction other than gambling." So that's another thing that I did wrong. Plus the cocoa != coca thing.

          I don't know if I can blame the spell checker for that one, or just dumb fingers.
    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

      already got 'em. use 'em.

      Even though you have a valid point I suggest this issue goes a little deeper than the laws we've got that aren't being used.

      The very structure of the corporate enterprise is legally obliged to deliver profits to the shareholders above all other concerns. Ultimately, despite all espoused values of said corporation, it's primary legal responsibility are those profits.

      This means a corporation will and must fulfill it's obligations with in the law and, as we have seen numerous times in the courts, someti

      • The very structure of the corporate enterprise is legally obliged to deliver profits to the shareholders above all other concerns.

        For "shareholders", read "owners".

        And I'm curious - would you invest in a company that promised to never deliver any kind of return for the money you invested? If not, why not?

        • The very structure of the corporate enterprise is legally obliged to deliver profits to the shareholders above all other concerns.

          For "shareholders", read "owners".

          And I'm curious - would you invest in a company that promised to never deliver any kind of return for the money you invested? If not, why not?

          Exactly. Corporations are simply people pooling their resources in order to produce or provide a product or service for a profit.

          Where I found their reasoning going awry was here:

          The internet's original sin, as these programmers and investors and CEOs make clear, was its business model. To keep the internet free -- while becoming richer, faster, than anyone in history -- the technological elite needed something to attract billions of users to the ads they were selling. And that something, it turns out, was outrage.

          No, "outrage" was simply a byproduct and result.

          What the internet did was both inform people without the filters of the MSM and allow like-minded folks to find each other and organize. The "outrage"

        • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

          The very structure of the corporate enterprise is legally obliged to deliver profits to the shareholders above all other concerns.

          For "shareholders", read "owners".

          And I'm curious - would you invest in a company that promised to never deliver any kind of return for the money you invested? If not, why not?

          No, however I'd remove the concept of Proprietary Limited Liability and expose companies to the full liability of their decisions and risk. Including no public bail-outs while making the lobbying of politicians illegal with jail penalties for the board and penalties for the company represented by a percentage of gross profit.

          I would make companies liable for their externalities and mandate use of technology to integrate their waste streams to either identify raw materials or figure out what waste has t

      • by doccus ( 2020662 )

        already got 'em. use 'em.

        Even though you have a valid point I suggest this issue goes a little deeper than the laws we've got that aren't being used.

        The very structure of the corporate enterprise is legally obliged to deliver profits to the shareholders above all other concerns. Ultimately, despite all espoused values of said corporation, it's primary legal responsibility are those profits.

        This means a corporation will and must fulfill it's obligations with in the law and, as we have seen numerous times in the courts, sometimes corporations go outside the law to deliver profits. I offer that this is something we accept as our reality no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on.

        To put this into context, I think a worthy consideration is that in the 1950's corporate law was different. Corporations had a very narrowly focused corporate charter to deliver a certain thing to the community, like a large piece of public infrastructure,
        like a bridge or a something else needed by the common use of all people. Corporations didn't have human rights like the ability to initiate legal proceedings on behalf of its interests.

        They are also the loudest influence of political policy and with all of that combined the modern 20th century corporation was allowed to diversify and expand, creating all of the behemoths of enterprise that rose in the 70's, 80's and 1990's. Our Early 21st century experience is colored by a nostalgic view of what a corporation is.

        Now add the Internet and the ability to interact with a large audience and learn all about them and the 20th century corporation is something else again, it has evolved and adapted. It exists as the consequence of actions of all of us who work within this structure. That is not to deny that they don't do amazing and cool things, however we must always keep in mind that this structure is still oriented towards profit before all other things.

        So I don't blame these people for the way that things turned out because that is the structure of our "Free Enterprise Capitalism", which is the nostalgic view and, the 21st Century reality of Corporatism which is the reality of our time regardless of politics.

        I think this is a good example of taking personal responsibility as a Technologist for not doing enough to stop this circumstance. I think that the lesson that we can take away from it is if you don't bare the burden of your personally responsibility when you make a profound impact on the community, people will make you.

        The second thing I see is not, what went wrong, but what is going wrong, it's still happening. We bare a larger than ever burden of responsibility for the behavior of the enterprises we create. My personal concern is as AIs start to inherit corporate functions, what sort of entities are we creating? What sort of world is our unconscious desires creating with our internet powered corporations? How can I influence things to make a good reality with technology.

        I want to be optimistic, however I think it is valuable to be wise to consider those questions, especially if you are a technologist because we want to create the kind of reality that makes people respect technologist for their role in the community.

        Have a nice day!

        You're absolutely right.. but it was different in another way in the 50s and thereabouts. Shareholders used to expect consistent returns. The whole thing about expecting increased returns every quarter is new. A company that delivered solid profits every year , year in, year out, was considered a blue chip stock. Like the major utility companies etc.
        But, now, any com,paqny that doesn't deliver increased returns considstently is cionsidered a no- goo.. one to avoid, a bad investment. It looks to me that gree

        • by doccus ( 2020662 )

          You're absolutely right.. but it was different in another way in the 50s and thereabouts. Shareholders used to expect consistent returns. The whole thing about expecting increased returns every quarter is new. A company that delivered solid profits every year , year in, year out, was considered a blue chip stock. Like the major utility companies etc.
          But, now, any com,paqny that doesn't deliver increased returns considstently is cionsidered a no- goo.. one to avoid, a bad investment. It looks to me that gree

          • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

            Sorry about all the typos. bad arm.. ;-(

            No, need. I just had surgery on my elbow where they removed the bursa and ooooowwwwww!!!! for the next 6 weeks or so.

  • by NicknameUnavailable ( 4134147 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @04:45PM (#56438043)
    They don't invent shit, they didn't even contribute anything to the development of the internet after it was created beyond invasive advertising, spyware, and a host of idiotic JavaScript frameworks/anti-patterns.
    • They don't invent shit, they didn't even contribute anything to the development of the internet after it was created beyond invasive advertising, spyware, and a host of idiotic JavaScript frameworks/anti-patterns.

      That's an emotionally-satisfying response, perhaps, but it's obviously not true. If you can't come up with a long list of things that were invented in Silicon Valley, you either haven't been paying attention or you have some powerful confirmation bias going on.

      • That's an emotionally-satisfying response, perhaps, but it's obviously not true. If you can't come up with a long list of things that were invented in Silicon Valley, you either haven't been paying attention or you have some powerful confirmation bias going on.

        How about you come up with one which isn't in the groups I mentioned?

  • Good intentions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2018 @04:46PM (#56438045)

    This is the reason why trolls and SJWs exist. It's why nobody can say anything, no matter how innocuous or how much it's made clear that it's just an opinion, without someone picking it apart.

    I used to really enjoy having discussions with people on BBSes. When I first had internet access back in the late 80s, I really enjoyed having discussion there too. As time went on, the internet gradually became a more hostile place where civilised discussion mostly ceased and people only try to insult, one up or vilify other people. It's at the point where I very rarely bother starting or joining conversations because I know it's going to become an endless chain of negativity and I don't feel like I have the energy or enthusiasm to deal with it any more.

    I'll call it. This very post is going to kick off that kind of chain.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @08:01PM (#56438935)
      is that people act on them, even when they're wrong (and yes, opinions can be wrong. It was the opinion of our founding fathers that Slavery was either good or at least tolerable).

      In the last 20 years we've seen a lot of pretty opinions previously thought too barbaric to make a comeback gaining traction. We have a national judicial nominee who refused to go on record that Brown vs Board of education was right. [youtube.com] Our last president supported torture and our current one thinks it's OK to murder civilians. In light of all this I think a reasonable person would start getting nervous at things that are 'only an opinion'.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is the reason why trolls and SJWs exist. It's why nobody can say anything, no matter how innocuous or how much it's made clear that it's just an opinion, without someone picking it apart.

      Welcome to the internet. You will find that people mostly come here to argue, and there are a lot of them, so people are gonna disagree with you.

      There are echo chambers available for most views if that's your thing (most anti-SJWs seem to prefer that), but out here people are going to exercise their freedom of speech and if that bothers you then you should find a website with a Code of Conduct to your liking.

    • The cool thing about BBSes (and early Internet boards/forums/usenet/etc.) was that it was *distributed*. Every BBS was, for the most part, an island. It had its ruler (the SysOp). It wasn't this monolithic structure.

      Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc. go against the intended structure of the Internet as being a distributed/flat system. They try to be everything to everyone, and if they're lucky enough to captivate a majority of Netizens into using their service, all eyes will be on them. One bad act

  • by raftpeople ( 844215 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @04:46PM (#56438049)
    "Ethan Zuckerman, MIT media scholar. Invented the pop-up ad."

    This immediately came to mind:
    "My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A liberal is one who is willing to apologize for not foreseeing something, then changing as a result to try and build something better over time.

    A conservative is someone who, when faced with the disgrace of Nixon, chooses to wait a while, then select the next person as someone even LESS likely to apologize, while conducting larger and larger crimes each time.

    As a result, conservatives get power - then proceed to prove that they can't govern, but never apologize, but instead shrink back each time to plan to

    • The "humanitarian" intervention in Libya destroyed Mali, lead to a massive spike in crime and murders which is still ravaging the country and opened the flood gates to illegal migration to Europe.

      With all that in mind, do you think we should intervene in Syria?

  • The iPhone comment is highly disingenuous to the point of self aggrandizement. He wants to sell you more so he's saying we made a highly addictive product and in reverse psychology he is saying buy more.

    The guy that proposed subscription models as the answer is even more so off the mark as his will result in some super rich entities that collect massive amounts of data (like Facebook does now) while lesser entities struggle. That's massively disillusioned.

    The only solution is to start businesses that cons

    • by Cinnamon Beige ( 1952554 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @06:40PM (#56438609)

      The only solution is to start businesses that consult and train consumers to implement tools and procedures to stop the collection in its tracks. Not for selling to businesses that collect but to the consumer gaining support services to dead-end collection at their internal network.

      That's not particularly likely; if nothing else, I'd expect those businesses to eventually get suborned by those making money off of collecting personal data. I'd suggest legally treating personal data as a form of personal property--and have it be one which you need explicit, specific consent to collect & use, and possibly flat-out ban sales to third parties without at least an actual money payment to the person(s) to whom the data belongs. Require the payment be a non-negligible percent cut of the sale.

      Have these rules apply to both civil and criminal aspects--after all, if you're stealing somebody's property...

  • Not unheard of (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Saturday April 14, 2018 @05:03PM (#56438127) Journal

    We saw many of the people who worked on the Manhattan project lament the uses of what they invented. It is not the tool we should regret but the choice of application. Cookies were designed with a valid and good application in mind, the fact that they have been severely perverted to serve the dark side is not the fault of the creator. Samuel Colt is not responsible when some nut job today shoots people, nor are the inventors of the car at fault when some drunk asshole runs someone over.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It took us a while to learn how to control technologies like cookies. The original implementation had zero security, and abuse was widespread and easy. Now we are reaching a point where a lot of clients block 3rd party cookies by default and limit 1st party cookie lifetimes.

      Unfortunately, it took a quarter of a century.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We have a technically illiterate public. To a degree that illiteracy has been enabled by the nature of the technology we build, where basic concepts like "where does your data reside" are obscured to line the pockets of some companies like Google and Face Book.

    Much like civics, the way to preserve the long term freedom and health of the internet is by having a population capable of making good choices. The population cannot do that if it is technically illiterate.

    That does not mean we need a society of prog

  • "We need a law..." (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sehlat ( 180760 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @05:05PM (#56438141)

    Really?

    Last I looked, lawmaking is at least as habit-forming, if not more so, than "social validation" or any of the other alleged sins of the net.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @05:10PM (#56438173)

    Hyperlinking already existed by the time Tim Berners-Lee re-invented for it the THIRD time.

    Hyperlinked was demoed first in 1968, 1987, and last in 1993 according to Alan Kay - Normal Considered Harmful [youtu.be]

    * 1968 Mother of All Demos [dougengelbart.org]
    * 1987 Hypercard
    * 1993 Mosaic

    --
    "Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes." -- John Cook

    • by reanjr ( 588767 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @05:23PM (#56438241) Homepage

      Hyperlinking is one part of what makes the WWW possible. TCP/IP, HTTP, etc. are all critical components. Despite those earlier examples of hyperlinking, they did not lead to anything remotely resembling a global inter-network of linked servers.

      • Hyperlinking is one part of what makes the WWW possible. TCP/IP, HTTP, etc. are all critical components. Despite those earlier examples of hyperlinking, they did not lead to anything remotely resembling a global inter-network of linked servers.

        Also, the two previous examples of hyperlinking that were mentioned were local links. To anyone who has encountered a table of context or an index, then observed the possibilities of navigation provided by a computer screen, the idea of selecting an entry and jumping to it is fairly obvious.

        The notion of being able to link to a chunk of a document on another computer on the other side of the world, without the knowledge or assistance (for your link, anyway) of whoever owns that computer and that document,

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Hyperlinking is one part of what makes the WWW possible. TCP/IP, HTTP, etc. are all critical components

        There were a variety of networking stacks back in the day. TCP/IP probably wasn't the best -- it was nicely robust, but there's a lot of overhead -- but it was good enough. There was nothing about TCP/IP in particular that was important for the WWW - it just happened to get used because of the DARPA/academic origins of the internet.

        HTTP is a trivial protocol that anyone skilled in the art could have knocked out. It was an incremental improvement over Gopher, which was an incremental improvement over FTP.

        • There were a variety of network stacks and at least one of them was required for the WWW. HTTP as a goal may be obvious, but it takes a shit ton of work to create a global standard that everyone can use. It was the complete snythesis of these components that brought us the WWW. Hyperlinking is obvious. Networking is obvious. HTTP is obvious. Then where the was the WWW? Shouldn't it have miraculously invented itself through its own powers of obviousness?

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            HTTP as a goal may be obvious, but it takes a shit ton of work to create a global standard that everyone can use.

            There's just not that much to HTTP. Sure, you need understand how to write/edit a standards document, but hasn't every senior engineer gotten involved with that at some point?

            Hyperlinking is obvious. Networking is obvious. HTTP is obvious. Then where the was the WWW? Shouldn't it have miraculously invented itself through its own powers of obviousness?

            Did you somehow miss the part where I wrote that the moment of genius was realizing you could make non-local hyperlinks? Kudos to TBL for that, but let's not exaggerate.

      • Hyperlinking is one part of what makes the WWW possible. TCP/IP, HTTP, etc. are all critical components. Despite those earlier examples of hyperlinking, they did not lead to anything remotely resembling a global inter-network of linked servers.

        You've got cause and effect reversed. By the time I got to college in the late 1980s the major networks (NSFNet, ARPANet, Bitnet) were being interlinked so servers (email, ftp, WAIS, archie, gopher, etc) were readily accessible worldwide. WAIS, archie, and later go

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @05:23PM (#56438245) Homepage
      FIFTH time. At least. You left off Ted Nelson's Project Xanadu [wikipedia.org] which started in the 1960s (took a little longer to deliver a product though; Duke Nukem Forever has nothing on Ted), but even that referenced the hypothetical Memex [wikipedia.org] system proposed by Vannevar Bush in 1945.
    • by illtud ( 115152 )

      Poor gopher, always forgotten.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      Hyperlinking already existed by the time Tim Berners-Lee re-invented for it the THIRD time.

      I'm almost surprised you didn't include Ada Lovelace.

      Part of the invention package is planting a novel idea into a viable context. Farmers figured out this trick 10,000 years ago. It's called soil. And guess what? Half of every tree is immune to lovers' penknives.

      Context, the Rodney Dangerfield of being in the right place, at the right time.

  • by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @05:13PM (#56438183) Homepage
    Sean, if you really meant it, and lamented the monster you created, you would disassociate every last dime of the billions your monster made you.
    Or at the very least, spend every last dime, every last breath, trying to put it back in the bottle with appropriate legislation.
    till then, you're just a pontificating jester on a golden throng earned in position of all the ideals you spout.
  • Did Al Gore apologize? /s

    The Internet, as an idea, and for the most part is still amazing.

    The scum crawling out of the woodworks to index/monetize every click and hover in a browser? Not so much.

  • Good old days (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TimMD909 ( 260285 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @05:33PM (#56438289) Homepage
    Things were fine back before normal people invaded our utopia...
  • This reads like misdirection news. This is "big centralized corp"'s issue not the Internet's, the Internet is not inherently evil, the Internet does not inherently set out to exploit your information and mislead you. But big corp and advertising does.

    This is just a new lesson the general public has to learn given the relatively new possibility of disseminating their personal information in massive quantities, they have to learn not to automatically give it to big shiny companies and trust them with it. I'm

    • How small do companies need to be to not try to make money or exploit people?

        I think advertising and user profiling are inevitable in a free market internet, because when a business can turn a profit while charging nothing for a service, they will beat any competitor who charges for their services. This is a fundamental flaw with our commercialized internet that needs to be corrected. I however think that technology can solve the problem.

  • Please, don't ruin everything that is great about the net because a vocal minority has no damn self control. It seems the same people that have been blowing off a decade of warnings have suddenly decided we were right all along, and now they need to make a few power moves to save face.

    Please guys, enjoy your expensive coffee, your avocado toast, and your 6 figure salaries while they last, but don't bring the rest of us down with you when the chickens finally come home to roost. Believe it or not, even thoug

  • Force these companies to open source themselves.
    Problem solved.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @06:17PM (#56438509)
    and you're just a designer. As for 'Weaponized' internet, when I was a lad they called it propaganda. It hasn't changed. It hasn't even gotten easier.

    Meanwhile the internet is doing one truly great thing: eliminating the concept of mysteries. Yeah, the baby boomer's don't get it, and even a lot of my gen, but my kid does. My kid knows that there is literally nothing in this world that is magic. Nothing that isn't a google search away from at least an _attempt_ at a scientific explanation. And at this point anything anyone who isn't a Steven Hawkins grade physicist can''t understand is pretty well explained. Tide goes in, tide goes out. It's a google search away.

    More than anything else the end of superstition and ignorance is going to fix humanity. The only risk is that somebody who benefits [google.com] from ignorance [youtube.com] will put a stop to it all. But as long as that doesn't happen then folks are just plain going to get less and less dumb until they stop allowing the kind of dark age crap that's been going on since the Romans fell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chupchup ( 70710 )

      That's laughable. That's hilarious. That is really rich.

      You believe, because reason trumps all and natural reality is the only thing that matters, that the mere act of collecting together a bunch of data, and making it accessible, will end the things you blithely refer to as "superstition" and "ignorance"?

      Where is your empirical evidence that it will? Where are the facts to back up your belief? Proof, man, you demand proof and so do I!

      "There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of

      • things generally were awful before the scientific method took over. We called it the dark ages.

        And re-read my post please. It's not the collection of facts themselves or the access. It's how it's all used together. It's how people become inquisitive. Questioning. Unwilling to accept authority because when authority gives them answers it's so easy to fact check those answers. Both superstition and faith require a person to be willing to accept things without evidence. That's how you get authoritarianism.
        • by chupchup ( 70710 )

          You can have all the instant access to "knowledge" that you want and it won't cure a thing. This is empirically true, 46 years into a connected Information Age.

          I have plenty of access to the knowledge of people who have proved 9/11 is an inside job. I am 1 click away from a wealth of knowledge about homeopathic cures for everything that ails me. Every WiFi hotspot gives me a glimpse into the minds of Aztecs who sacrificed live human beings, Egyptians who believed you can take it with you, and Mormons who ar

    • And at this point anything anyone who isn't a Steven Hawkins grade physicist

      I thought he was a business professor. Or did you mean the head of Amnesty International?

  • A few big players will tend to dominate any arena, that is just what happens. Let's take one activy that ought to be incorruptible - Yoga. Originally a way of achieving spiritual enlightenment and a healthy body, yoga is now one of the best methods for separating women from cash. In other words, give people any tool and they will find a way to either make money off it or kill someone. Don't blame the inventors, there is no way you can stop business being dicks.
  • ...enough businesses realize they've been sold a bill of good by their ad agencies and that they're not getting their money's worth for everything they're spending on web ads?

  • Since when has it been necessary to absolve people of their own agency and self-responsibility?

    It's not the fault of those who invented the Internet. They simply created one of the most comprehensive data sharing mediums to-date.
    It isn't their fault that a raft of other companies and governments usurped it, gamified, propaganzied and turned it into crack.

  • The article includes quotes from Richard Stallman, arguing that data privacy isn't the problem. "The problem is that these companies are collecting data about you, period. We shouldn't let them do that. The data that is collected will be abused..." He later adds that "We need a law that requires every system to be designed in a way that achieves its basic goal with the least possible collection of data... No company is so important that its existence justifies setting up a police state."

    Stallman is quite c

  • Then Albert Gore should apologize...
  • But as usual, the real problems are only rising to the top of the attention of the general populace because the abuses have become so commonplace and so extreme.

    Still a ways to go before there is a serious pushback though.

    And this is just 1 on a pretty large list of live social experiments we have going too, I expect the next few decades to be pretty interesting.

  • Warmongers vs. pacifists, fascists vs. communists, polarization is nothing new. It's not so long ago that Europe still had honest to god anarchists bombing shit ...

    They are simply dreamers who think progress is inevitable and as such the world now has to be a better place and any significant ideological clash like in the bad old days should be impossible. Anyone with opinions different from the liberal norm must have had their mind distorted by the evil ad chasing social media. Everything is sun shine and g

  • It's fashionable nowadays to bemoan the state of whatever. They did the same thing back when Gutenburg started churning out porn on his printing press. They did the same when TV came out.

    Give it up, this isn't really that important.

  • It's GLOBAL and our laws don't apply to other countries.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      "its GLOBAL" oh that tired old bit. No its not global, YOU are still local the server is still local to some place if there are multiple servers the corporate HQ is still local to some place.

      We certainly CAN legislate the Internet. We certainly can and SHOULD block networks that don't comply with our rules. As an example if anyone sincerely believes Russia illegally meddling in political campaigns or DRPK is hacking US corporation the sanction on them should be NULL routing - and anyone forwarding traffi

      • Yeah good luck with that idea. China and Iran and the like, have been trying to erect firewalls around their countries for years. People are very resourceful, and will never stop finding ways around those firewalls.

  • en masse onto the net without so much providing its users with a basic netiquette checklist in preparation.

    All of the other clowns in the article's car were responsible for creating one variety or another of so-called "social media" - which is a mere subset of the vast collection of resources known as the Internet, rather than being the thing itself. Social media (very much including the zombified remains of Slashdot) has, in fact, evolved into something of a plague. It didn't have to be that way,

  • ...invented the Internet. (The only person who comes close is Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the *World-Wide Web", not the Internet.

  • the recent adoption of DRM by W3C? Or the new standards by industry giants for mandatory biometric authentication? Or the increasing censorship and restriction on free speech on the web?
  • Internet was never perfect, but it definitely was better before it started turning people into ignorant a**holes, with no respect for any authority, and filled with hate for everything that differs from their person.
    I don't know if the centralization of web service providers played a critical role in this: it's easy to argue that the mechanism of monetization of outrage has contributed a lot, but... on the other hand I don't know whether not having a Google or a Facebook would have made a difference.
    Perha
  • It has also been shown that even the best amongst us have very near horizons with regards to the implications.

    We've seen powerful demonstrations of social media behaviour revealing peoples' previously private and inners thoughts. In the information age, privacy is dead, information what's to be free. We can't change that, we can prevent it's weaponisation against us with regulations. We need to see something like EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted world wide.

  • It's clear from their discussion and their list of internet architects that what they really mean is not just "internet" but "social media" or perhaps, "redefinition of 'internet' as an entertainment and advertising platform."

    There's no need to smear (or overlook) the guys working in the 60s and 70s designing the internet.

  • We have pure mob rule now with all these keyboard warriors, especially the ones that normal society generally shunned or made fun of before there were all these computers and users connected. Kind of natural selection for societal influences.

    Before if you were a loser, couldn't achieve any outward success, language proficiency, educational diligence, home ownership, functional family, healthy body, grooming standards, or address your body odor, society in general would, for the most part, just rightfully ig

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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