Defend Your Freedom To Innovate
While delivering the keynote speech at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, Rheingold warned that vested interests, flexing their political and economic muscle, are stifling technological innovation.
While Rheingold points out that the digital interconnectedness has completely revolutionized the communication landscape, allowing consumers to graduate to producers and Communication Agents, he also firmly points out that "vested interests -- the music and movie industries, telecommunications companies and governments -- are starting to clamp down politically and economically to protect their interests."
Rheingold pointed out to a number of present-day initiatives which may severaly stifle innovation. Among several ones he listed the recent Microsoft Trustworthy Computing initiative, and the "Broadcast Flag" and other ongoing attempts of controlling and limiting innovation by the media industry.
He also reminded the audience that the Internet and many of the technologies we are now using (Unix, Mac OS X, the Web, etc.) have been made possible by
being all open systems built collectively, by collaborating parties.
Unless developers, designers and programmers would understand the risks that such maneuvers will cause, we risk to be taken over by a wave we can't even see coming.
To defend the opportunities created by many years of intelligent innovation it is not sufficient to read statements like the ones above and to get angry at what is happening.
There is need for those who so well use and understand the media tools that we start using those tools effectively to get new messages and powerful calls to action out there.
Without fear of being portrayed as a paranoid, Howard Rheingold went on to state that: "If all the attempts to control people's use of technology are successful, "it really could make the Internet something we look back on with nostalgia".
He also said:"An era is coming to an end. Geeks and consumers are under assault. We really have to organize to protect our rights."
Esther Dyson, fomer chair of ICANN, the Internet name assignment authority, added to that: "Technologists always say they just code, they don't make laws, but they should be going to Congress. Our rights are in jeopardy."
Now, no matter where you stand, what political party you prefer or like, one thing is clear:
There is a chorus out there of brightest minds saying to you:
"Time to wake up!"
"Big vested interests such as Microsoft, Hollywood and the other major media conglomerates, are taking your game table away while you are still playing.
Are you going to play the blind?"
Read the whole story "Futurist Fears End of Innovation".
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