The Control Revolution: How the Internet is Putting Individuals in Charge and Changing the World We Know

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9781891620867: The Control Revolution: How the Internet is Putting Individuals in Charge and Changing the World We Know
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Dissidents around the world use the Internet to evade censorship and get their message out.

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Where do you want to go today? This slogan/mantra is the centerpiece of a Microsoft advertising campaign and the central dilemma of our times, says technorealist Andrew L. Shapiro in The Control Revolution, a warning of the potentially dismal consequences of the uninhibited personalization afforded by the Internet. By putting individuals in charge of their own information gathering, Shapiro suggests that we might find ourselves imprisoned within our increasingly narrow choices or "oversteering" into a corporate-controlled Net environment not unlike network television. His aim is to alert us to the problems and help us steer a middle course to fully realize the benefits of worldwide networking.

What will happen to encryption, copyright, and free speech in our brave new world? How can we seize the power of unrestricted choice without giving in to the temptation of ignoring diverse opinions? How will governmental and business authorities respond to these threats to their power? Shapiro addresses these questions and others forcefully and eloquently, offering prescriptions for thoughtful leaders such as limiting certain intellectual property rights to free the market for new operating systems and creating incentives for virtual "public squares" where everyone can have their 15 nanominutes of fame. Thoughtful, entertaining, and substantial, The Control Revolution is essential reading for those charged with creating the future. --Rob Lightner

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"A reservoir of civic reason in our tumultuous age...Shapiro is a de Tocqueville of the information society." David Shenk, author of Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut

"Finally, a book that can help even a novice like me understand what the Internet revolution is all about. Kudos to Andrew Shapiro!" Laurence A. Tisch, former Chairman and CEO of CBS

"This is an extraordinarily powerful and mature story of the hopeful side of the Internet's revolution. Rich with insight, and surprisingly new conclusions, Shapiro's book is the best 'second-generation' thought on the questions the Net will raise. His account foreshadows the challenges for a liberal democracy in the networked future, and his analysis provides pragmatic and realistic responses for citizens today. Beautifully written, and tightly argued, the book is certain to become a classic." Lawrence Lessig, Berkman Professor, Harvard Law School

"Lucid and provocative from page one, The Control Revolution offers a rare perspective on the high-tech frontier: an enthusiast's understanding of the digital world, tempered by a pragmatist's sense of the limitations of the new media. Shapiro gives us a powerful glimpse of what works in cyberspace--and how to fix what doesn't. The Control Revolution is bound to shape the terms of cyber-debate for years to come." Steven Johnson, editor of Feed Magazine and author of Interface Culture

"While I may be more hyperbolic in my optimism than Shapiro, The Control Revolution is a lean and well-founded argument for a belief we share, namely that electronic networks are returning to individual human beings much of the authority we have lost to institutions during the Industrial Period. The Powers that Be are shortly to become the Powers that Were." John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident, Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, Electronic Frontier Foundation

"Shapiro presents a compelling explanation of why we love the Internet-the control and access it gives us-while also reminding us of the obligations this new power brings us to preserve what is good about America. It's important for each of us to read The Control Revolution, and to take up his call for a balance between personal and public interest." Zoe Baird, President, The Markle Foundation

A thoughtful and balanced treatment of the Internet.... Shapiro celebrates the enhancement of individual freedoms the Internet enables, while pointedly diagnosing its dangers to our collective well-being." Mitchell Kapor, founder Lotus Development Corporation, co-founder Electronic Frontier Foundation

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