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[ih] New Republic Article - "How We Misremember the Internet’s Origins"

I think we could channel Padlipsky profitably in this context. Our author seems to think we should have "designed" the Internet (while having no concept that that's what was being built) to avoid humans acting like humans and making the Internet into a poster child of "this is why we can't have good things."

By parallel, we had an over engineered top down bureaucratic alternative to our protocol stack and it was an abject failure. Instead we have an unequivocal success built on a fundamental principles of loosely coupled subsystems and protocols, and the openness and freedom they imbue.

To my mind, the enormity of the success of the Internet is exactly a reflection of the engineering aesthetics and technological philosophy that it is built upon, and it is these aesthetics that are the (dare I say) paradigm shift, a beacon to engineering efforts of myriad applications.


On Fri, Nov 1, 2019, at 8:08 PM, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>     > From: Lori Emerson
>     > I can't imagine that veering into ad hominem attacks on the worth of her
>     > degree is considered part of productive discussion
> Perhaps - but one of this things a holder of a liberal arts degree _ought_ to
> be able to do is clearly explain what they are trying to say, and organize
> their presentation to clearly back that up - and this article doesn't seem to
> do that (witness all the discussion about what its point is).
> I've read it numerous times over the day, trying to work it out, and I focus
> on the last para, where she says:
>   "But even the most ad hoc of these events occurred in a particular
>   ideological context. What is the result of ignoring or blithely denying that
>   context? Lo and behold: It looks a lot like 2019"
> which sounds like she's unhappy that we didn't think through how it would be
> used, and do a better job to pre3vent, or at least influence, that. An earlier
> para seems to agree with that:
>   "But perhaps the most enduring truth of the internet is that so many of its
>   foundational moments and decisive turning points emerged from ad hoc actions
>   and experiments undertaken with little sense of foresight or posterity."
> But then there's this:
>   "But this is another recurring theme seen in the many moments of ad hoc
>   internet history: By emphasizing the technical innovations (and obsessive
>   dedication to them) as more important than the political and economic
>   contexts in which they were germinated, the graybeards of internet history
>   .. perpetuate the illusion that technology magically exists outside of
>   politics, rather than existing in a constant dialogue with it."
> which sounds more like she's saying that contemporary politics played a large
> role in making the Internet look like what it is.
> If so, why couldn't she just start out by saying 'The Internet looks like what
> it is today because of the political environment at the time it was created -
> both in general, and around the people who created it.' Then she could go on
> to explain how and why - lay out the detail in an organized way to back up her
> thesis.
> (I'm leaving aside for now any comments on what seems to be her thesis. We can
> take that up if we agree that's what she's trying to say.)
> 	Noel
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