They have been getting a lot of (blog-) press but that's well deserved: Cory Doctorow's statement for 2004 is right on the money, in fact it's so good I'll just reproduce verbatim, I'm sure nobody will mind but otherwise it's real easy to complain to a blogger
The last twenty years were about technology. The next twenty years are about policy. It's about realizing that all the really hard problems -- free expression, copyright, due process, social networking -- may have technical dimensions, but they aren't technical problems. The next twenty years are about using our technology to affirm, deny and rewrite our social contracts: all the grandiose visions of e-democracy, universal access to human knowledge and (God help us all) the Semantic Web, are dependent on changes in the law, in the policy, in the sticky, non-quantifiable elements of the world. We can't solve them with technology: the best we can hope for is to use technology to enable the human interaction that will solve them.
On that note: I have a special request to the toolmakers of 2004: stop making tools that magnify and multilply awkward social situations ("A total stranger asserts that he is your friend: click here to tell a reassuring lie; click here to break his heart!") ("Someone you don't know very well has invited you to a party: click here to advertise whether or not you'll be there!") ("A 'friend' has exposed your location, down to the meter, on a map of people in his social network, using this keen new location-description protocol -- on the same day that you announced that you were leaving town for a week!"). I don't need more "tools" like that, thank you very much.
An important note for 2004: stop trying to build an Internet without malefactors, parasites, freeriders and inefficiency. There is no such thing as a parasite-free complex ecology (thank you Kathryn Myronuk for this formulation). Some organisms lamented the existence of mitochondria. Others adapted to exploit them and integrate them. Some lament the existence of spammers. Spammers will always exist: stamping your foot and demanding their nonexistence won't change that: adapt or die.
I'll post on each of these later. Posted by Claus at January 11, 2004 12:03 PM | TrackBack (0)