Newly appointed Professor Jonathan Zittrain ’95 spoke about “The Future of the Internet” at the Berkman@10 Conference earlier this spring. The presentation, which was based on Zittrain’s new book, discussed how the Internet is transitioning from a user-dominated, highly innovative phenomenon to a closed, more restrictive environment.
“There are a couple of key moments that can take a broad-based, highly useful social phenomenon and tip it into a zone where it doesn’t happen any more,” said Zittrain in his presentation. “My claim is that the social basis underlying the technologies that came out of left-field and ended up in the mainstream and beat-back the much better planned and content-oriented technologies, like the information appliances that the PC beat out…are vulnerable to this kind of tipping point.”
Zittrain spoke about the importance of previous technological advancement, including the growth of social networking and cooperative websites such as blogs and Wikipedia. Unfortunately, he said, people are beginning to manipulate technology to block certain information.