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    • The contract for the web is an example of this. Is it perfect? No. Will FANG fully comply? Probably not.

      I was just having a conversation with someone who was saying that Facebook and Google signing that contract effectively completely devalues it, because it is now so much harder to think about it as something real (because with proceedings like these the endorsement is a bare-faced hypocrisy).

    • Yep. I have spoken to two people online with exactly the same sentiment. I didn't even think how this would be an issue until it was brought up and now the more I think about it of course it is. So much trust has been eroded it is almost impossible to stuff those feelings back in a bag. But I guess on the other hand were they supposed to not invite the big players to sign? Or should they have not made this something to sign? There are so many moving parts with your original post it almost melts the brain to find true north. I guess the only way is to battle forward one inch at a time. In the end I am for a decentralized connection and a decentralized society with safeguards in place to protect and inspire the members. I argue for a balanced three legged stool with government, business, and people equally represented. Will we ever get there? Who knows. But we should try at all costs.

    • Wow does this look interesting! I am chomping at the bit. Have to wait till tonight to read it though. This is certainly not an American problem to fix. This is global!!! Thanks for the share Chris and hope all is well!!

    • Using the Internet to pull people together rather than split them apart requires designing an environment very different from the usual online forums for political debate, such as Twitter or Facebook.

      Amazing.. all this with no ads?

    • Somehow I stumbled into a Twitter brawl this morning over Barron Trump being mentioned in the impeachment hearings yesterday. It’s hard to imagine the dialogue didn’t leave lasting bitter divisions between all sides.

      I don’t think in my lifetime I can remember a venue with so much rage. No seeking common ground, and reasonable voices didn’t even try to jump in.

    • You went on Twitter expecting a rational discussion of opposing viewpoints?!

      This summer I convinced a “Berner” to hate Warren less. It was extremely civil and I had the facts to disprove a false claim made against her. But you're talking substantial differences between those two candidates’s views of less than 50 percent. (For the record, I’m not a Warren supporter. I just felt that someone incredibly intelligent was being duped by social media disinformation and I wanted to correct their views, especially since a lot of people pay attention to what they say.)

      I love Twitter for what it does best, but a shit show it is for anything involving discussion of opposing viewpoints. If only there was an online framework where domain experts of opposing views could rationally debate the merits of their positions without the squeaks of the trolls, and with thoughtful audience questions asked of the guests ...

    • This probably indicates there are allot of people who like to be incited to become passionate, by someone or something that ought to be extreme one way or another, to be divisive and form competing 'tribes'.. It's the mentality of "winning", there has to be some blood or else it's boring. Along the lines of the article you pointed to, it's built into the 'design' of the 'platform'; to this day I still can't help not laugh at the usage of this word, what is everyone thinking - a wooden platform elevated in a public square, or something else - more like a software platform, or both? I digress... I think we live in a society where too much has become a show, to the point where they throw the child away with the bath water if it's not immediately digestible in absolute binary thinking ways, and profitable.. Intellectual and cultural kitsch predominantly overflow and spill over all aspects of life. (not sure it has to do also with the cyber truck shape but it might) It really is sad. 🤡

    • You know what I find fascinating is when people in real life are so defensive of arguing logically and rationally, it's like they consciously like to pull a veil of blindness over their minds. And block everything that does not suit their view, even before it's being said!

    • I always see this as linear thinking where they only see what is obvious and comfortable. Figuratively right in front of them. The digital connection to date has only amplified this in many instances. They should teach critical thinking beginning in Kindergarten and make it a requirement for every year of education thereafter.

    • So when I see well-meaning theories starting with "let's give everyone what they need, for free", I can't help but ask:

      - how do we determine who needs what and how much?

      - where does it come from?

      I think whether it’s theory or not depends on what happens after the US Presidential election. Thought this was a timely share. I don’t think it’s come up in any of the debates so far.

    • Absolutely. The pipe, the wireless spectrum, and the servers should be a public utility or maybe a hybrid of government and community ownership. The app layer should be a combination of private and community ownership as innovation rarely seems to thrive in the application of government.

    • Oh don't get me started on pop ads that are targeted to inferred interests. I can't believe it is almost 2020 and we are still seeing this. Just blows me away how far we have come technically yet how static we remain at the application layer.

    • Me having been born and raised in Soviet Union

      I have the impression from some of my Russian friends that it's common to mistrust state-run services if you've had that experience.

      Just observing things here in the states I really don't hear complaints about things like dialing 911, or the fire service. They seem to be our national heroes. They are fast, professional, in well-maintained equipment. Same with National Parks, mostly NASA and the military.

      Sometimes rich people will supplement the fire department here in California, but only because they feel the number of fires has overwhelmed our firefighters.

      I carry this same view over to the agencies that helped develop the internet and fund basic science.

      Am I wrong in thinking experience in some countries like the Soviet Union makes you more distrustful of public services?

    • Wow Chris, what an interesting read. I wish I would have had this example when I wrote my essay Emergent Representation of the People and when the founder of Govtrack.us told me people have better things to do than interact directly with legislation. But to be fair to him he mentioned these ideas were tried numerous times but they never took hold. I would imagine trying to get the public to wrap their brain around this would be a challenge to say the least. As they say in the article if you're cynical about government you're probably going to be cynical about digital democracy platforms. But I also like what they said in the article of turning the government into hackers which as Generation Z begins to populate the halls of government maybe there will be a chance to rethink how people will be represented by their government. 

      I hope these experiments in Taiwan will take root and serve as an example of building a connection more representative of the users. I am going to use this as an example in my next essay so thanks for sharing.

    • Am I wrong in thinking experience in some countries like the Soviet Union makes you more distrustful of public services?

      It depends. Implicitly, you are correct, and I have personally observed and continue to see this rather sad tendency in people who have left USSR and/or contemporary Russian Federation for other places, but seem unable or unwilling to shake off the cynicism and reverse cargo cult. It's one of the things that I am most bitter about the country where I was born. It used to, and after a brief respite, continues to poison people's minds and hearts. (I do not think it is alone in that, but that doesn't detract from the bitterness)

      But on the other hand, it is not a given. It is up to the person to work his/her mind to see that there are different approaches and different perspectives. Knowing that a public service can be abused gives you a bit more critical facility (as in, you don't blindly sugarcoat police work and/or existing legislation), but same critical facility should tell you to study local situation and customs and, well, the way things work, before applying preexisting patterns from a different country and/or culture.

    • I think whether it’s theory or not depends on what happens after the US Presidential election. Thought this was a timely share. I don’t think it’s come up in any of the debates so far.

      I find the discussion on whether it was capitalism or some other abstract governance model that gave us the Internet to be mostly demagoguery. It's a flashy subject which operates some ultra-broad, poorly if at all defined concepts, lacking any concrete foundations.

      I have had the privilege to see Internet (and earlier networks) rise, and happen to know a bit more than an average person about the technological underpinnings of that. So yes, I wholeheartedly agree that it was a big stroke of luck, some very forward-thinking people and the adoption of open standards that contributed to the Net being what it is now. It was also a bit of a lucky coincidence - would ITU be a little less lethargic and invested into its geriatric wired-telephony worldview at the time, it could very well mandate X.25 and related stacks as the foundation of the global net, and everything would be quite different.

      But mapping to capitalism or socialism as "the givers of manna" is entirely arbitrary and laughable.

      On both sides, mind you. Again, demagogues abound. Mr. Sanders sounds quite noble when suggesting that Internet should be "a public good". Indeed, some countries have already proclaimed and codified that, e.g. Finland (which is very emphatically not a socialist country - see my earlier complaints about people routinely confusing social with socialism). But they did it because they have, to an extensive degree, solved operation problems underlying such a declaration. 5 years ago LTE mobile service in a high-speed train traveling from Helsinki towards Russian border was faster than my home internet connection, and I could buy it for about 8-10 euro (for the sim card plus a weekly package of unlimited access). I am rather convinced that Mr.Sanders hasn't a clue about how to make Internet operate (and most likely, who would operate it, and how that would be paid for, beyond abstract budget assignations (what if budget fails, does Internet stop?))

    • I am rather convinced that Mr.Sanders hasn't a clue about how to make Internet operate (and most likely, who would operate it, and how that would be paid for, beyond abstract budget assignations (what if budget fails, does Internet stop?))

      I think his point is that without government funding, there wouldn’t be an internet. So the government should have a right to make it more equitable for the people who helped pay for it. There’s a small movement in the US to start charging royalty payments to US drug companies that benefit from government research and then charge exorbitant prices for the drugs that result from it.

      There’s a television show called Adam Ruins Everything that did an interesting segment on how Silicon Valley has benefited greatly from government “investments” without having to provide a “return” to taxpayers.

    • But don't you feel there should be a component of the web that would be considered a public utility. Just as there are public water utilities ran by local governments, shouldn't there be public information utilities? Bernie Sanders wants to go beyond this just as his all in approach with healthcare, college education, etc., etc. so I would worry about this as I am worried about the current iteration but what about pushing for legislation to move the backbone to more of a public/community style hybrid. The cat is out of the bag for current technologies but what about the upcoming 5G rollout? I have been listening to quite a bit of congressional debate on this and see enormous threats in a laissez faire approach to this when you look at the potential Huawei breaches and the vulnerability of iOT devices. Let the free market have their way with the apps but what carries the water for our minds is just too important to only trust to the profits of multinational corporations, don't you feel. Not being rhetorical here. Very interested in your feedback.

    • Darn it. It looks like I need to have a cable provider to watch Tru TV which I haven't had cable for 5 years. Looks interesting though. That word "Equitable" is powerful and important in this debate. This is the dissemination of information we are talking about here which can be highly influential on societies. I say we need a balanced approach and big tech/business has the upper hand. The public interest needs more of a role. No two ways about it in my opinion.

    • Darn it. It looks like I need to have a cable provider to watch Tru TV which I haven't had cable for 5 years.

      Apologies for going off-topic, however, this is an important show that you will find fascinating in how it completely challenges and destroys your understanding of a lot of things that you take for granted (or haven’t even considered).

      Here are a few viewing options to keep your cable cord cut:


      It’s also free to view if you have an Amazon Prime subscription.