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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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The internet has always had something to do with politics and with power. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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I am an emigrant from the Soviet Union. It was supposed to a utopia but it was collapsing when we left. When we got to the US, we were told there was a new utopia that would connect the world. It would democratise the world, was truly revolutionary. I believed the promise ~Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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There’s a belief that the underlying technology of the internet was created by radicals in the Bay Area. They wanted to create a technology that would revolutionise society. They were countercultural. Or it was created by Pentagon & then taken over by radicals ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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It’s simply not true to say the Pentagon isn’t involved in the internet. Most of the technology used comes military projects. The idea the Pentagon got out of the business after creating the internet is simply not true. There is huge involvement of the US military ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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There was a need in the 1950s and 60s by America to create a new command and control system so generals could get an idea of what was going on in the world . They were facing a new kind of war that involved insurgency— they needed as much information as possible ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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America needed tools to handle this data— the program was part of a general network project. Part of the Arpanet programme involved creating the basic tools, including the mouse, the user interface. The computer was never separate form the network that connected it ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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The transformation of the internet from a military and academic network to the commercial network today was a giant leap. It was a privatisation of the technology. Companies needed to make money. They wanted to sell the idea that these computers were liberating ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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The countercultural people living in the Bay Area saw the network developments he 60s and 70s as an extension of their ideas of the commune eg Douglas Engelbart who created the mouse. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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American corporation are extensions of the American government. They benefit from American power abroad. They shape its power & are shaped by that power. The fact that companies like Google, Facebook etc are tied to the American state should not be surprising. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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The US government didn’t create Google covertly and then release it on us... But the funding for it came from the US government. The way things are funded by the government and then sold as services back to the government is an established pattern. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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Google became a military contractor almost from the day they became a company. They were never opposed to the government because he more powerful the government is, the more powerful Google are themselves. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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Is the interest even compatible with democracy? Not just because of the way disinformation works, but also the socially destructive, addictive nature of our attachment to screens. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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The internet promised a revolutionary but it didn’t offer one. It entrenched the position of a monopoly of power, introducing some new players, but essentially maintaining what had already been going on before ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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It is a sign of how broken our society is that we are appealing to our tech overlords to be better. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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It’s difficult to step outside and imagine you have any effect on this technology. We have no power, no say in any of this. We are supposed to think we have some kind of influence on this technology, but the platforms are all about selling influence to the highest bidder. ~Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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It seems like the internet shouldn’t have a place in a democratic society when this technology is based on the idea of covert influence by people who have money. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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In 1969, the same year the first Arpanet node was launched, there were protests in MIT and Stanford against the Arpanet. They were arguing against the creating of a networking system, which they called people manipulation, that it would be used to spy on people ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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You can’t separate out the political and economic problems of the internet from the larger problems that plague our society. You can’t separate the total dominance of corporate power over society from the internet. ~Yasha Levine
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Edinburgh Book Fest Aug 21
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Is there a new structure we can create that can direct the development of these internet technologies that is more in the alignment with our democratic interests? ~Yasha Levine
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