So, I had planned to do a blog post reviewing Jonathan Zittrain’s book “The Future of the Internet (And How To Stop It)”, when I came across Tim Wu’s review, which is far better than what I had planned to write. So instead of boring you with my thoughts, I figured we’d all be better off if I just link to his review.
Wu agrees with Zittrain’s leading ideas, that due to security concerns and the nuisances of spam, pop-ups, and the like, users are continually moving toward more “appliancized” devices (like the iPhone) which offer more security but less flexibility, creativity, and “generativity”. In other words, the iPhone (or iPad for that matter) and the content we can put on it are more tightly controlled than the personal computer as we know it, so it is more user friendly and brilliantly packaged, but less likely to give rise to innovation. Wu then goes on to describe some of the history of information technology over the last century and distinguish the net from its predecessors – especially radio and television.
They differ in that Zittrain sees security risks as the dominant shaping force for the future of the net, whereas Wu sees industry and cultural forces dominating. I tend to agree with Wu’s perspective, but you’ll have to judge for yourself.
Here it is: