The Internet

When I started really fiddling with the Internet in 1989 it was a twisting mazy of branching passages. It was entirely technical details and arcane (not to be confused with difficult to master) knowledge. It was fun and rewarding to figure things out—all I had to do was simply read and experiment. It was also very much social! There were people, both in-person and remote (as in, I don’t think I’ve ever met them in person), who I got to know through working on things and exploring and building. But at no point did I ever even wonder if what I was doing and building was going to change society. “This is interesting” and “I wonder if…” were my guiding philosophy.

Such prophesies might be dismissed as the prattle of overindulged rich guys, but for one thing: they’ve shaped public opinion. By spreading a utopian view of technology, a view that defines progress as essentially technological, they’ve encouraged people to switch off their critical faculties and give Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and financiers free rein in remaking culture to fit their commercial interests. If, after all, the technologists are creating a world of superabundance, a world without work or want, their interests must be indistinguishable from society’s. To stand in their way, or even to question their motives and tactics, would be self-defeating. It would serve only to delay the wonderful inevitable.

~ Nicholas Carr from,


But an equally great quote is: “Technology promised to set us free. Instead it has trained us to withdraw from the world into distraction and dependency.”

Anyway. Looking back, I don’t see how I could actually have done anything differently. Looking back, I can clearly see how we—the world, society at large—got where we are.