29thSep2010

Californian Ideology 2.0: A First Farewell

Where the internet and greater new technologies before have military origin, nowadays technologies and implementation are developed and financed by private companies and organizations. Even the backbone of the internet has become privatized, as part of its protocol, DNS, is now largely accessed by going through private parties such as Verisign, the administer of .com and .net TLDs. This was formerly a responsibility of the United States Department of Defense. Completing the demilitarizing process, GPS is going to get a European counterpart Galileo, this time not backed by military ascendancy but by civil initiative. These changes a quite significant as practically all communication and location technologies are now part of the open market or at least openly available. It is in this light the ideology and further development of web 2.0 takes place and I will therefore take a moment to retrace the ideology of the web based on the work of Turner (2006) and Barbrook (1995, 2007).

At first the military and its WOII agenda was the inducement for collaboration between the state, businesses, and research disciplines. The collaboration helped to incite development and efficient transmissions. The icons and titans of the closed world were for once involved in boundary-breaking collaborations as the harbingers of a collaborative world and information sharing, a so called mixed economy. This development gave Norbert Wiener the possibility to come up with cybernetics. Wiener saw cybernetics later as potentially destructive and should therefore be used is social context, not in the structure and domination of artificial intelligence as right wing John von Neumann pursued. In the 1960s the counterculture and New Left - not to be mixed up with each other - followed Wiener's concerns and saw more nuclear dangers than advantages in the cold war technology and its bureaucracy. The New Left used traditional politics to change society. The counterculture contrasted the New Left with a hippie background of social movement, not political, and behavior that favored technology and cybernetics for the consumer and commodity culture which helped express the individual. Towards and in the 1990s, the hippie Left joined up with the New Right resulting in a controversial mix of Left's individual social freedom and the aim for agora, joined with economic liberalism and free markets on the Right. Both protested the government and monopolies and supported possibilities for entrepreneurship, endeavoring technological utopianism. Together they formed the Californian Ideology. At first it was a mixed economy of a government subsidized West Coast, d.i.y. initiatives, and commerce, but now due to their own economic interests, the 'virtual class' lost track of their hippie roots.[....]

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