Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Two good articles

Well worth the time to read. The first, a fairly positive article about trusting your audience, in fact trusting humanity.

We are facing a war for the very soul of our culture, and the side on which you fall depends, in large part, on your view of humankind. It is the most unreported story of our time. If you trust people to generally get it right, then you've no fear of handing over to them the power that comes with knowledge. If, however, you trust that people will generally get it wrong, then you'll see value in protecting such knowledge and continuing the path of hierarchical order. This is a considerable challenge for each of us.

Of all of the revelations I've had since I was a boy, none has contributed to my sense of well-being like the knowledge that I'm not, nor do I have to be, perfect. In taking such a position, I've discovered that nobody else is perfect either, and that includes those further up the hierarchical food chain. The greatest myth of the Modernist culture is that the elite are closer to perfection than the rest of us, and as more people discover that this isn't true, our democracy will only get stronger.

and the other a more guarded and pessimistic article on something that's been bothering me for quite some time now, the fact that a small group, the telecommunications carriers, own the means of distribution and communication for the internet.

We need to stress how the pipe-centric view of the world is responsible for the crippled and asymmetrical "consumer" service the carriers call "broadband". By restricting upstream use of the Net and biasing service to downstream "content delivery", the carriers have effectively outlawed personal and small business enterprise on the Net. This is one area where the carriers have been persistently clueless and hostile to the Net since the beginning, and we need to call them on it...

These are ideas, of course. I present them forcefully because I believe we--the technical community--are being called to fight for a world we made and continue to make. And one which is under grave threat.

That threat appears in many forms, all of which are easy to blame and attack. But all those forms are expressions of a simple concept: that the Net is, above all, a system of pipes. Those pipes are in fact below, not above. They support a World of Ends, but they don't define it.

Unless we let them.

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