Monday, March 28, 2011

the evolution will be socialized

Rushkoff | From the actions of the Egyptian government to the policies of Facebook, the monopolies of central banks to the corporatization of the Internet, we are witnessing the potential of a peer-to-peer networking become overshadowed by the hierarchies of the status quo. It’s time for us to gather and see what is still possible on the net, and what, if anything, can be built to replace it.

I have had a vague misgiving about the direction the net’s been going for, well, maybe 15 years. But until recently, it was more like the feeling when another Starbucks opens on the block, a Wal-Mart moves into town, or a bank forecloses unnecessarily on that cool local bookstore to make room for another bank.

Lately, however, what’s wrong with the net has become quite crystalized for me. It started with the corporate-government banishment of Wikileaks last year, and reached a peak with Egypt shutting off its networks to stave off revolution. The Obama administration seeking the ability to do pretty much the same thing in the US, Facebook’s “sponsored stories,” and the pending loss of net neutrality don’t help, either.

Here on Shareable, and then again in an OpEd for CNN.com, I suggested we “fork” the Internet – that we accept the fact that the net is built on a fundamentally hierarchical architecture, surrender it to the corporations who run it, and consider building something else for ourselves. The Internet as built will always be subject to top-down government control and domination by the biggest corporations. They administrate the indexes and own the conduit. It has choke points – technological, legal, and commercial. They can turn it off and shut us out. A p2p network protected only by laws – that exists but for the grace of those in charge – is not a p2p network. It is a hierarchical network allowing itself to be used in a p2p fashion, when convenient to those currently in charge.

If we have a dream of how social media could restore peer-to-peer commerce, culture, and government, and if the current Internet is too tightly controlled to allow for it, why not build the kind of network and mechanisms to realize it?

3 comments:

Tom said...

Bingo

Big Don said...

"If we have a dream of how social media could restore peer-to-peer commerce, culture, and government, and if the current Internet is too tightly controlled to allow for it, why not build the kind of network and mechanisms to realize it?"
The *mechanism* already exists: Ham/CB radio...

CNu said...

Quite right BD, and for them old-heads and smattering of younglings what still know and use it - but for them right-minded who desire and demand it all; http://radio.linux.org.au/

accept no substitutes....,