[iDC] JZ introduction

Jonathan Zittrain zittrain at law.harvard.edu
Wed Oct 7 05:35:14 UTC 2009

Hi there,

I'll be participating in November's digital labor conference.  I've 
written a book called the Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop 
It, <http://www.futureoftheinternet.org/download>, in which I worry 
about shift in control of our tech environment away from individuals 
and towards consolidated private gatekeepers, in turn controllable by 
state regulators.  I think this shift is happening by our own choice, 
as we migrate away from flaky user-empowering systems that can too 
easily fall prey to malware, and towards more stable (and boring) 
environments, whether Internet appliances like Amazon's Kindle or 
cloud-computing environments like Yahoo! mail or Gmail.

I think what I'll talk about in November are the ways in which human 
computing is also entering a cloud configuration: now someone can put 
a number of human minds onto a project or problem in proportion to 
the number of zeroes written on a check.  I worry about a new era of 
astroturfing in many areas of public life, both social and 
political.  (That's one reason why I'm interested in the recently 
announced FTC guidelines about disclosure when bloggers are paid to 
endorse products.)

But for the most part I'll be at the conference to listen and 
learn.  I think I'm methodologically an outlier from the average 
workshop participant, so there will be lots that's new to me.  ...JZ

Jonathan Zittrain
Professor of Law
Harvard Law School | Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Co-Founder, Berkman Center for Internet & Society

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