Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

my debate with Zittrain on NPR-Boston


Well, I actually didn't exactly get a chance to say quite enough for this to qualify as much of a "debate," but I was brought in roughly a half hour into this WBUR (Boston NPR affiliate) radio show featuring Jonathan Zittrain, author of the recently released: The Future of the Internet-And How to Stop It. Jonathan was kind enough to suggest to the producers that I might make a good respondent to push back a bit in opposition to the thesis set forth in his new book.

Jonathan starts about 6 minutes into the show and they bring me in around 29 minutes in. Although I only got about 10 minutes to push back, I thought the show's host Tom Ashbrook did an excellent job raising many of the same questions I do in my 3-part review (Part 1, 2, 3) of Jonathan's provocative book.

In the show, I stress the same basic points I made in those reviews: (1) he seems to be over-stating things quite a bit in saying that the old "generative" Internet is "dying"; and in doing so, (2) he creates a false choice of possible futures from which we must choose. What I mean by false choice is that Jonathan doesn't seem to believe a hybrid future is possible or desirable. I see no reason why we can't have the best of both worlds--a world full of plenty of tethered appliances, but also plenty of generativity and openness.

If you're interested, listen in.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 9:59 PM | Books & Book Reviews , General , Innovation , Internet , Internet Governance , Interoperability