Sep 1, 2022·edited Sep 1, 2022Liked by Jon Stokes

I had a front-row (well, maybe second-row) seat for many of these development of the Internet and the Web. Let me just say in two words: It's hard.

My touchstone on net policy is Lawrence Lessig, and several of his early books cover exactly this territory. But he's hardly the only one. There have been many papers and books by various people going over this topic overall, often from the perspective that techno-Libertarianism is nonsense. Alas, my final conclusion, after more than two decades, was that this really is downstream from politics in general, and there isn't much that an individual can do - unless they want to be a full-time political player for their life, and that's a specific career. Again, touchstone, Lessig has written about this extensively in his later books, about general politics (i.e. huge amounts of money!) driving the choices of technological development.

In a way, it's a meta-problem. What's the audience for telling people something they don't want to hear? How is that supported and compensated? And translated into action?

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A wonderfully succinct history.

If we are to follow the centralized CCP vs Decentralized West trajectory, do you think a natural outcome of that might be a reversion towards local servers and peer to peer hosting, as a trend away from the Spotifys, Netflixs, and YouTubes of the world? One example in hardware that is very present, is that Apple will be producing a good percentage of their phones in India, outside of China, as of this year.

I can imagine (hope) that ongoing emerging conflicts will do a similar thing to the software-IoT side of things, as there's more port wars and geo-restrictions. But to your point, that inertia is still largely at the whim of global geopolitics and outdated/unhelpful internet laws

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