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Discussion on: 5 Books to Fight Technopoly

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lethargilistic profile image
Mike Overby Author

I think monetization is an important issue for these reasons, too, but I don't believe these issues would go away without monetization. The social problems are bigger than software and who pays for it. A free system can still erase trans people. An open system designed to centralize the flow of data can still give one party a huge amount of power over the public. I'd also say that centering academics as an alternative to what we have now is misguided, since there's nothing actually stopping academics from doing the same things companies do. There's no magic academic juice that gets rid of systemic racism in their software, and academia itself is a white supremacist institution very much akin to the tech industry, so I'd treat it with exactly the same skepticism.

But these are nitpicks! Thanks for the comment. ^^

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n8chz profile image
Lorraine Lee

I certainly don't think there's such a thing as magic academic juice, but I still see them as a lesser evil than private industry, perhaps incorrectly so. I do think the academic involvement in the middle period of Internet history probably did at least a little more good than harm, as the early Internet was entirely under the auspices of DARPA and post 1993 or so it's been "the business of this Internet is business," which I am absolutely sick and tired of. Around the time of the 2008 crash, in particular, what was left of noncommercial activity online (think blogs) basically disappeared. DIY ethos got replaced by FYPM ethos. I understand why, and I certainly never scold anyone indy for choosing to monetize, but damn, try as I might, I can't erase the memory of a less stingy datascape.