Gentlemachines
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Gentlemachines
What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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The Internet is Real

The Internet is Real - The Message - Medium
Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road trial, and the quasi-fictions of internet culture.
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«The conventional wisdom of the internet has always been “nobody knows you’re a dog.” Casual users are reasonably skeptical of online activity by way of stories about Manti Te’o and experiences receiving suspicious looking emails sent from someone with a cousin’s name requesting money. But Ulbricht’s capture was the digital equivalent of getting caught redhanded — his screen open to a Silk Road “mastermind” page with detailed logs. The case suggests there may be a shift in the balance, a new understanding that not everything digital is to be disbelieved.«

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Where is the governance in Internet governance?

The governance of the Internet provides one of the most important arenas in which new ideas regarding Internet studies can be applied and tested. This paper critiques the prevailing conceptualization of Internet governance. The label is routinely applied to the study of a few formal global institutions with limited or no impact on governance, but not to studies of the many activities that actually shape and regulate the use and evolution of the Internet, such as Internet service provider interconnection, security incident response or content filtering. Consequently, current conceptualizations of Internet governance inflate the presence and influence of state actors. Furthermore, they undermine efforts to understand how large-scale distributed systems in the global economy can be governed in the absence of formalized international regimes. We conclude by discussing how concepts of networked governance can be applied and extended to illuminate the study of Internet governance.

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The Battle for Power on the Internet

The Battle for Power on the Internet | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Distributed citizen groups and nimble hackers once had the edge. Now governments and corporations are catching up. Who will dominate in the decades ahead?
Artur Alves's insight:

"

We’re in the middle of an epic battle for power in cyberspace. On one side are the traditional, organized, institutional powers such as governments and large multinational corporations. On the other are the distributed and nimble: grassroots movements, dissident groups, hackers, and criminals. Initially, the Internet empowered the second side. It gave them a place to coordinate and communicate efficiently, and made them seem unbeatable. But now, the more traditional institutional powers are winning, and winning big. How these two side fare in the long term, and the fate of the rest of us who don’t fall into either group, is an open question—and one vitally important to the future of the Internet.

In the Internet’s early days, there was a lot of talk about its “natural laws”—how it would upend traditional power blocks, empower the masses, and spread freedom throughout the world. The international nature of the Internet circumvented national laws. Anonymity was easy. Censorship was impossible. Police were clueless about cybercrime. And bigger changes seemed inevitable. Digital cash would undermine national sovereignty. Citizen journalism would topple traditional media, corporate PR, and political parties. Easy digital copying would destroy the traditional movie and music industries. Web marketing would allow even the smallest companies to compete against corporate giants. It really would be a new world order.

This was a utopian vision, but some of it did come to pass. Internet marketing has transformed commerce. The entertainment industries have been transformed by things like MySpace and YouTube, and are now more open to outsiders. Mass media has changed dramatically, and some of the most influential people in the media have come from the blogging world. There are new ways to organize politically and run elections. Crowdfunding has made tens of thousands of projects possible to finance, and crowdsourcing made more types of projects possible. Facebook and Twitter really did help topple governments.

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