The Future of Internet….
The BBC has decided the web is now worthy and has made it the subject of a detailed documentary series, The Virtual Revolution, that explores its origins, evolution and examines the implications of the technology for society.
It’s a highly ambitious, well-researched and thoughtful look at what 20 years of the web means for humanity. This is the perfect time to take a look back and project forward because we are on the cusp of massive expansion as the developing world comes on board in leaps and bounds.
The series is narrated by Dr. Aleks Krotoski, who aside from studying the implications of the internet for the past 10 years, is also a member of The Guardian’s crack team of technology journalists.
The first program in the series examines the idea of the web as the great leveler and leaves no stone unturned in it’s quest for answers. Most of the program is filmed in the Bay Area and includes interviews with local luminaries-Stewart Brand, Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Keen, Chad Hurley and John Perry Barlow.
The big theme here is one of revolution and counter-revolution which is explained by the adoption of the internet by late 1960s and early 70s Bay Area radicals, fueled by hope from the Summer of Love and looking for a space where their ideals could be realized.
The program concludes that despite all the hippie driven hope for true openness and utopia, the reality today is very different with a handful of new media brands that have taken and co-opted control.
Krotoski finds an interesting contrast from the ideals of 60s radicals to 2010, where there is basically one online store, one social network, one search engine and one online video network.
Despite the potential doomsday scenario of limited control, Krotoski hopeful thesis is that the beauty of the internet is its state of constant flux, which simply put, means those who are in control today, are very likely not to be in control forever.