"The Future of the Internet---and How to Stop it" by Jonathan Zittrain

The Future of the Internet---and How to Stop it Jonathan Zittrain

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
15 Jun 2008
ISBN:
9780300144772
Dimensions:
708 pages: 254 x 178 x 35mm
Illustrations:
black & white illustrations

This extraordinary book explains the engine that has catapulted the Internet from backwater to ubiquity--and reveals that it is sputtering precisely because of its runaway success. With the unwitting help of its users, the generative Internet is on a path to a lockdown, ending its cycle of innovation--and facilitating unsettling new kinds of control. IPods, iPhones, Xboxes, and TiVos represent the first wave of Internet-centered products that can't be easily modified by anyone except their vendors or selected partners. These "tethered appliances" have already been used in remarkable but little-known ways: car GPS systems have been reconfigured at the demand of law enforcement to eavesdrop on the occupants at all times, and digital video recorders have been ordered to self-destruct thanks to a lawsuit against the manufacturer thousands of miles away. New Web 2.0 platforms like Google mash-ups and Facebook are rightly touted--but their applications can be similarly monitored and eliminated from a central source. As tethered appliances and applications eclipse the PC, the very nature of the Internet--its "generativity," or innovative character--is at risk. The Internet's current trajectory is one of lost opportunity. Its salvation, Zittrain argues, lies in the hands of its millions of users. Drawing on generative technologies like Wikipedia that have so far survived their own successes, this book shows how to develop new technologies and social structures that allow users to work creatively and collaboratively, participate in solutions, and become true "netizens."

ÒThis book is fundamental. It will define the debate about the future of the Internet, long after we haven't stopped it. Absolutely required reading.ÓÑLawrence Lessig, Professor, Stanford Law School, and author of Free Culture and The Future of Ideas

"This remarkably researched and highly entertaining book is a must-read for all who take the ubiquitous nature of the Internet in our everyday lives for granted. The future of the internet is NOT a positive one, unless we all work collaboratively to ensure its lasting success. ZittrainÕs analysis is first-class and should be widely heeded by leaders from all sectors of society."ÑDr. Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman and Founder of the World Economic Forum

ÒThe most compelling book ever written on why a transformative technology's trajectory threatens to stifle that technology's greatest promise for society. Zittrain offers convincing road maps for redeeming that promise.ÓÑLaurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School

ÒJonathan Zittrain does what no one has beforeÑhe eloquently and subtly pinpoints the magic that makes Wikipedia, and the Internet as a whole, work. The best way to save the Internet is to turn off your laptop until you've read this book.ÓÑJimbo Wales, Founder, Wikipedia

ÒA superb and alarming discussion, from one of the most astute and forward-looking analysts of the Internet. Zittrain explains how the glorious promise of the Internet might not be realizedÑand points the way toward reducing the current risks.  Absolutely essential reading."ÑCass Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence, The University of Chicago Law School, and co-author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

 

"This is a passionate and intelligent book, of interest to students and scholars of cyber law and Internet/society issues."ÑLibrary Journal

"There is much to recommend in the book and too much to address well in a blog post. Still, having finished it, I can say that it offers many insights. . . . For now I'd say buy the book."ÑDeven Desai, Concurring Opinions

"Excellent and ultimately upbeat. . . . Zittrain . . . is a Romantic about the 'Live Free or Die' ethos of original internet culture, while doubling as a superb technical master of its legal and manufacturing history. . . . Zittrain deserves Kierkegaard's accolade, that to occupy oneself with the future is 'an indication of man's nobility'. Like many 'cyberphilosophers', [he is] discovering the future in the present with less wonted gloom and doomÑand more incisive solutionsÑthan many traditional literary and humanistic pronouncers on the subject."ÑCarlin Romano, Times Literary Supplement

"A useful starting point to understanding the choices that lie ahead."ÑRichard Waters, Los Angeles Times

"In the web counterrevolution that Jonathan Zittrain foresees, users will lose the ability to control content, companies will gain the power to censor data, and security will trump innovation. It's a gloomy scenario that his new book Future of the Internet, says is already underway. . . . While Zittrain is not sure just how to solve the regulation tug-of-war, he believes that over time, the evils of too much freedom pale beside those of authoritarian control."ÑKatie Baker, Newsweek

"The thrust of Zittrain's book is that the shift back toward sterile technology cannot be entirely avoided, though the dangers can be mitigated. . . . It's a wake-up call for a kind of civilian defenseÑpart community watch, part high-tech volunteer militia. Ignore Zittrain's warnings and we may prove his forecast right."ÑPaul Starr, The American Prospect

"The Future of the Internet identifies and analyzes many of the key issues, obstacles, and tradeoffs that will define our future."ÑScience

"This book is a must-read for any student of technology and policy, and its prescriptions are a must-do for the future of innovation in the digital age."ÑHal Abelson, American Scientist

Designated as the Honored Book of the 2008 Donald McGannon Award given by the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center at Fordham University.

"Jonathan Zittrain has written a clear and compelling argument for preserving the productive potential of the global infrastructure of networked PC's and their (potentially) collaborative users." —Greg Downey, Technology and Culture