Rebuilding the Internet

The internet we know is breaking. And it’s not because of a technical malfunction.

Many of our dreams and expectations about technology providing a free flow of ideas, capital, and information have been met–to a point. But the litany of unintended consequences lengthens. Some say we have created a monster that is eroding our system of government, our society, and our economy. And now we’re collectively reacting.

These actions are primarily driven by two opposing philosophies, neither of which in the extreme serve up a truly healthy future.

One side is building a digital economy that is pure weaponized capitalism. In this model, your personal “code halo”–the “digital you” created by every click, swipe, buy, like, Tweet, message, post, or follow–is used almost exclusively to disconnect you from your money, your attention, and your vote. In what author and scholar Shoshana Zuboff calls “surveillance capitalism,” every bit or byte of our data is monetizable.

The other side is creating pure Big Brother authoritarianism, where information isn’t used as much for commercial means as it is a means of control. Social credit score systems and monitoring technologies, like those being deployed in many countries (including China), will track individual and corporate behavior and then use it to control access to social services, loans, and other aspects of life.

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