The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It


Yes, even we were getting tired of that Indiana Jones marathon on TV. So, we ventured online to find something entirely too geeky for a Sunday afternoon. The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It is a presentation Harvard Law School professor Jonathan Zittrain gave at Princeton near the end of March.

He begins by covering early 20th century “sterile” technology like tabulation machines that were rented by the census bureau. The machines didn’t encourage any sort of innovation. Next he talks about “generative” technology like the internet and modern OSes where anyone can build whatever they want. The final step is the more recent move to what he calls “tethered” technology. These are the systems with upgradeable firmware where devices can ship with unfinished features and remove features after the consumer has already purchased the device. He uses the iPhone as an example of this walled garden that could hurt innovation. Watch the video for his thoughts on this new world and how he thinks it could be fixed.

15 thoughts on “The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It

  1. how do you do it? Become a criminal and hack the devices you own. Open them, make it do something that ANGERS the company that made it and publicly publish full details on how to do it.

    Places like Hack a Day will become illegal underground sites as these corporations buy more and more laws to oppress you.

    but hey, I need that new Shiny item from Sony. My freedom is worth less than a new SHINEY!!!!

  2. I didn’t think he was that boring. I thought he was a great speaker. He put his thoughts into speech really well and I thought he had some very insightful ideas to share. Even when put on the spot he gave relevant and entertaining answers.

  3. The guy is not only cool, but smart, weird for a lawyer :)

    I didnt really like his “compromise”. It sounded like he liked the iPhone SDK and the general idea of DRM infested appliances .. as long as the “good guys” have the DRM keys (apple/google).

  4. spreadsheets in google documents automatically saves revisions even as you go that you can go and look through

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