The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

Host: Dan O.

Date: March 31, 2011

Wu (who coined the term net neutrality), currently on leave from Columbia for a stint at the FTC, and author of “Who Controls the Internet” writes a compelling history of the information empires of the 20th century and how they have followed a consistent pattern: disruptive technological innovation (telephone, radio, tv), a corporate power that centralizes control of the new medium (AT&T, RCA, NBC)–ultimately controlling “the master switch.” 

Wu recommends constitutional, rather than regulatory control over those who develop information, those who own the network infrastructure on which it travels, and those who control the venues of access.

Interestingly, Wu hammers Apple for being a closed and highly controlled system. Imagine if Apple were to acquire a Hollywood studio.

What’s past is prologue.

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