Monday, February 06, 2006

rant: on the end of the cyberspace

There's a longish discussion underway at the End of Cyberspace blog on, of all things, the end of cyberspace. William Gibson fans know the word, and it is the opinion of the author that it's ready for retirement. He has solicited input from the great and the good regarding potential replacement names. Being both great and good, I have my own idea or two which I offer for your consideration. I'm feeling a bit cynical, so be warned.

One of the truisms of the 'web', if that antique phrase means anything anymore, is that it has become a vast ever-changing miasma of half-truths, sub-truths, factoids, hearsay, lies, exaggerations, embellishments and general unrepentant opinioneering, all of which suffuse, surround and quite effectively obscure the occasional vein of truth.

In other words, it is a rich vein of randomness and the perfect foil for the contemplative, if that contemplative knows how to sift through the mountains of chaff to find the grains of wheat.

The end of the internet looks like this. In the not-too-distant future, individuals with access to the web of the future will either pay pennies (or nothing) for access to the "wild" internet of unfiltered content and free-range malware, or they will sign exclusive household contracts for ad-subsidized, sterilzed private networks and the hyper-connected single-brand media they serve through proprietary, locked-down hardware. The latter will define themselves as "Sony" families or "Universal" families or "Disney" families. Or whatever.

The former will struggle to sift through the leftovers on their own, but will choose this freely as an alternative to bathing in the glowing sphere of one of the few designated media cartels.

1 comment:

Ron said...

the people who built,love, and maintain the internet will expose it like a little Greek female baby on a mountaintop as soon as marketeers start using phrases like "pay top dollar." No matter if it's right or fair or capitalist or whatever, that WILL happen, and the pay content will be "ghettoized," thus ending the net as we know it. I'll take a billion wackos ranting about Bu$hHitler or Moonbats over the "MeteredNet" any day of the week.