Even though I’m at Burning Man, I’ve snuck out an extra scheduled podcast episode (MP3
): Barlow’s Legacy
is my contribution to the Duke Law and Tech Review’s special edition, THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE INTERNET: Symposium for John Perry Barlow
“Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”1
And now we are come to the great techlash, long overdue and desperately needed. With the techlash comes the political contest to assemble the narrative of What Just Happened and How We Got Here, because “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”Barlow is a key figure in that narrative, and so defining his legacy is key to the project of seizing the future.
As we contest over that legacy, I will here set out my view on it. It’s an insider’s view: I met Barlow first through his writing, and then as a teenager on The WELL, and then at a dinner in London with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) attorney Cindy Cohn (now the executive director of EFF), and then I worked with him, on and off, for more than a decade, through my work with EFF. He lectured to my students at USC, and wrote the introduction to one of my essay collections, and hung out with me at Burning Man, and we spoke on so many bills together, and I wrote him into one of my novels as a character, an act that he blessed. I emceed events where he spoke and sat with him in his hospital room as he lay dying. I make no claim to being Barlow’s best or closest friend, but I count myself mightily privileged to have been a friend, a colleague, and a protege of his.
There is a story today about “cyber-utopians”told as a part of the techlash: Once, there were people who believed that the internet would automatically be a force for good. They told us all to connect to one another and fended off anyone who sought to rein in the power of the technology industry, naively ushering in an era of mass surveillance, monopolism, manipulation, even genocide. These people may have been well-intentioned, but they were smart enough that they should have known better, and if they hadn’t been so unforgivably naive (and, possibly, secretly in the pay of the future monopolists) we might not be in such dire shape today.
Economist, author, podcaster and radio presenter Tim Harford (previously) has a fantastic new podcast: Cautionary Tales, which Tim describes as "Eight stories of mishaps, fiascos and disasters - served with a twist of nerdy social science."
Quiet.js converts data to an audio signal–optionally beyond the range of human hearing–and plays it in the browser. If you can’t imagine what this might be useful for, note that it can also receive such data. If you’re still stumped, you might be a saint surely some tunes are obviously the devil’s. This is a […]
Renowned sci-fi and fantasy publisher Tor just launched a new book imprint called Nightfire, focusing on new horror fiction. And to celebrate, they’re giving away 35 free short horror stories as audiobooks. The list includes stories by Alyssa Wong, Chuck Wendig, China Miéville, Carmen Maria Machado, and more. The only catch is that the stories […]
Seems like no matter what kind of wireless earbud you buy, you’re sacrificing something: Sound for longevity, battery life for durability, the list goes on. Finally, it seems like the tech is starting to come together for the full package in a few newer models. Case in point: These PaMu Slide Bluetooth 5 In-Ear Headphones. […]
If you’re doing any kind of data work, chances are you’re working in Excel. This venerable platform has evolved beyond its roots as a workhorse spreadsheet creator into an essential tool for data analysts and other high-level number crunchers. Want to brush up on this year’s version of the software? There’s no quicker way than […]
Does your computer gear need an upgrade? Don’t cross your fingers and wait for Christmas. You can get 15% off the final sale price of all these essential accessories now by using the online code BFSAVE15, including gaming mice and computer desks. Wireless Charging Mouse Pad Talk about a space saver. This high-quality mouse pad […]