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Web

http://www.bbc.co.uk/virtualr
evolution/
What is the web?
 The web is the defining technological
revolution of our life time.
 Challenges authority
 Untold wealth
 People work for free
 Leveling of power
 The smartest brain in the world

 Discuss the ideas above – are they true?


Importance in History
 Can be compared with the Industrial
revolution in its impact on the world.
 Publishing and distributing.
 Entertainment, information, involvement.
 Global, instant and virtually free
 35m in UK logon every day – extremely
wide reach soon to saturate all areas of
the world
 List what you think are the most
important moments in history. Times,
inventions, people who changed the
course of history.
What do Brits do on the internet?
 Spend money
 Fall in love
 Sexual kicks
 Express opinion

 The great leveling of humanity


 Equal voice, equal access, no formal
control – is this an example of Marxist
ideology?
 What do you do on the internet? What will
you do in 5 years? 10 years? Speculate.
Who created it and why?
 Internet as rebellion
 Created by societies misfits – socially inept, not
part of the main stream, not part of the corporate
world or government.
 Leveling – creating something which makes
everyone equal was the goal of web creator Tim
Berners-Lee

 Is there a conflict between ideology of web and


human nature, desire to control and profit?
 Write a paragraph exploring this idea. Can you
give examples.
Wikipedia
 Most important information source in the
world
 Equal access to authorship
 65M use each month
 Truth, knowledge not created by elite but
by masses
 Undercuts authority, free and fulfils
leveling dreams of founding fathers of
internet.

 What are it’s faults? Why do you think


teachers are wary of it?
1960s
 Connection with counter culture of 60s - San
Francisco
 Andrew Keen - The Cult of the Amateur
 The Well - early internet
 http://www.well.com/
 John Perry Barlow - Grateful Dead

 San Francisco was the birthplace of much of


the technology we take for granted today. It
is a city with a strong alternative life and has
hosted various social rebellions.
Control and access
 Declaration of the independence of
cyberspace
 No formal control
 Universal access via a computer and
connection
 130million blogs
 Is the voice of the people now heard
so loudly that no one can ignore it?
Al Gore
 Explore use of web
 Use in politics
 Obama, Kenyan elections
 http://www.ushahidi.com/

 How is the web used in politics?


 Advertising, reaching voters, funding,
ideas, changing thinking? Restricting
movements? What about Iran? What
about China?
Paradigm shifts
 Printing
 Steam
 Internet

 What comes next?


Tim Berners-Lee
 Inventor of www
 Importance of common language -
hypertext
 Information management: A proposal
 6th August 1991
 Now universal
 Creating URLs, html
 Gave it all for free and did not profit from
it.
 Why? How is this now reflected in what we
see on the web today?
Freedom
 A new democracy - Stephen Fry
 Bill Gates - about letting people
share information
 Deliberately structured to resist
authority
 No governments, no centre and no
control of authority
 Collision course with established
notions of authority – why?
Vertical or horizontal
 Conventional notions of society
involve hierarchy and are arranged
vertically.
 What about the web?
 Charles Leadbetter
 http://www.charlesleadbeater.net/ab
out-me/about-me.aspx
1975
 Bill Gates
 The personal computer is the template for
access.
 BG Invents basic - language for PC
 Steve Wozniak - co-founder Apple ‘steals’
it.
 BG made billions from creating computer
language and licensing it to others.
 Contrast with Tim Berners-Lee
Battles
 http://rushkoff.com/

 Microsoft - monopoly, anti-


competitive practices
 Tension between open source and
commercialism corporate approach
 This tension exists today.
.com boom
 Boom and bust
 Copyright issues:
 Napster - software which will allow sharing
and access - law breaking of millions for
1st time
 Dream of leveling continues - Limewire -
Bit Torrent etc.
 Threat to traditional industries involving
information and entertainment.

 How has industry combated this by using


same techniques?
Attack on middle men
 Direct connections
 Individual publishers
 UGC
 Youtube - Chad Hurley - founder
 http://www.chadhurley.com/?page_i
d=2

 Who loses? Who gains? Why?


Lee Siegel
 http://www.thedailybeast.com/autho
r/lee-siegel/
 http://nymag.com/arts/books/featur
es/42758/
The Huffington Post
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

 Re-establishing old hierarchies -


reverse of ideology of its creators.

 Becoming like a conventional


Newspaper
Paradox
 Lack of regulation allows most
powerful to dominate
 Competition is disappearing?
 Internet has now become dominated
by institutions and that central
control has crept in?
 Government control, corporate
control?
Wiki
 http://blog.jimmywales.com/
 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technolo
gy/wikipedia/6660646/Wikipedias-
Jimmy-Wales-denies-site-is-losing-
thousands-of-volunteer-editors.html
 http://www.time.com/time/magazine
/article/0,9171,1187286,00.html
Mirror to society
 Does the internet mirror society? Power,
control, commerce, rebellion
 Was the ideology of leveling inherent on
the creation of the internet simply a pipe
dream?
 A place of perpetual re-invention

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/virtualrevolution/