Apple App Store and the Historical Future of Networks

I remember reading Being Digital back in 1996. Nicholas Negroponte summed up the beginning of the digital age. Up until 1996, computers and the consumerization of business had just been a thought; a place to play.
In the late 90’s I remember a friend of mind coming over to my house and asking what use the internet might have. He was a molecular scientist, and wanted to know if the internet had use beyond just messing around. I showed him Webcrawler and the great sources of information. He scoffed, and left unconvinced.

Fifteen years later, Negroponte’s book is dated, but still holds so much in the form of truth as to his predictions of technology.

The internet has changed. It’s not just a place to play. It’s a place where the a 21st century shift of culture is happening.

The internet is at odds with itself right now. We are at a revolutionary moment in the history of technology. We don’t know wether to meter ourselves and accept quasi closed service models of the internet (Apple App Store. eg proprietary delivery models with heavy handed filtering) or open ended (read, Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus/open source) content and delivery on the internet.

Compare Canada metering the internet, US cybersecurity ‘kill switch’, Egypt shutting down access {versus} an internet where users define content with peer level accountability as Wikileaks, Wikipedia, and open source development.

These models have benefits and horrors on each side. It will be an interesting future. I certainly hope that we can find a place where common ground between peer accountability and filtered/privatized accountability can thrive.

I am optimistic that we can keep the internet a place where creativity and business can coexist.