I was fortunate to attend Evan’s talk this weekend at semi-permanent, and I was very impressed not only with Evan’s work (which you can see here: http://blog.evan-roth.com) but mostly with his capacity to analyse, make connections, ask questions, raise issues, ponder over stuff, and base his ideas on what others have done, said, and written.
Evan’s work (some more, not all of course) is very much what I would call “Deep Creative Technologies”, a (bad) term to distinguish from all the other ‘eye candy’ crap that most people in this area arbitrarily generate and shamelessly present.
One of the most ‘sticky’ ideas that Evan raised during his talk was how “corporate” is the Internet today. This is very clear for all of us who were around the early 1990′s using Mosaic to browse the web, Gopher to transfer files, Pine to read email, and Photoshop without layers, 3D CAD that took 10 hours to render a single scene, etc. Evan focused on the internet, and lamented how it turned to be very commercial and basically a place for users and consumers, rather than the early promises of makers and creators. It is true, even as I write this blog post, it “belongs” to tumblr, their aim is to monetise my writing (and your reading). Instead of millions of independent mini-owners of online content, we ended up with a dozen corporations owning everything.
The radio and TV sort of started with the same ‘indy’ philosophies, and we all know how those turned out, too.
And it’s not only the Web. Every corporate acquisition of a small and independent product or service, is great for the entrepreneurs, but terrible for the future of technology. The 3D printing world is today controlled by two corporations, the software industry is also highly concentrated with Google, Apple, Autodesk, Amazon, Adobe. Microsoft, Facebook swallowing every creative idea out there.
As with every complex system, there are many causes at play. One that I personally think is quite sad is how people make choices based on comfort and convenience. This goes from smoking to eating meat, and to using ‘user-friendly’ commercial platforms to read (and sometimes write) and share ideas.