[Tim Wu] E-pub The Master Switch The Rise and Fall of Information Empires read online

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Stricted use and enterprising experiment until some would be mogul battled his way to total domination Here are stories of an uncommon will to power the power over information Adolph Zukor who took a technology once used as commonly as YouTube is today and made it the exclusive prerogative of a kingdom called Hollywood NBC’s founder David Sarnoff who to save his broadcast empire from disruptive visionaries bullied one inventor of electronic television into alcoholic despair and another this one of FM radio and his boyhood friend into suicide And foremost Theodore Vail founder of the Bell System the greatest information empire of all time and a capitalist whose faith in Soviet style central planning set the course of every information industry therea Wow Two of my favourite books in the recent past have been The Moral Animal and The Sovereign Individual I liked them because they brought out the fundamental patterns that underlie the evolution and behaviour of humans and the system of the world respectively The Master Switch does the same with communication and information empires His premise is this history has shown that communicationinformation technologies follow a predictable path it starts as an idea in a mindgroup of minds typically in a small room is then brought to life in the most rudimentary manner and keeps itself open to improvements and changes until it becomes a solid proposition It then shifts to industrial scale predictable outputs and controlled by a corporation which then decides to make it a closed system He calls this the Cycle The author s contention is that all information businesses go through the cycle The uestion he seeks to answer is which is mightier the radicalism of the Internet or the inevitability of the Cycle He gets there by taking us through the history of information empiresThe story begins in the 1870s when Alexander Graham Bell s small telephone company goes up against the ruler of the times Western Union A classic underdog story that resulted in the continuing empire that is called ATT Is AtT still the hero Will get to that in a bit Similar stories with its own heroes and villains then play across radio AM FM television movies and now the internet It is not just the magnificent scope that makes the book interesting The author retells history in the mould of a thriller There are anecdotes and not so trivia that make the book really engaging Multiple inventors of the same technology and uncredited firsts towering personalities from JP Morgan to Steve Jobs who left a firm imprint fascinating origin stories of movie studios like Universal and Warner that are now household names and how movie making is now less to do with the movie and to do with the business of the franchise a movie is a 2 hour advertisement of an intellectual property which makes money through a franchise that sells everything from tshirts to DVDs to theme parks companies that rise again like phoenixes in revenge arcs that span a century GE buying UniversalThe author obviously does not give a definitive answer to whether the Internet will beat the Cycle He suggests a constitutional approach not regulatory and a Separations Principle to make sure that the ownership of information creation distribution networks infrastructure and access control remains with different parties to prevent it from corporate or governmental misuse The nuance he highlights is that the monopoly actually begins and even continues with noble intentions and utopian values but loses the plot subseuently Almost like you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain Remember the uestion earlier about ATT He also points out and this is where it meets The Sovereign Individual that the user has the power to control how this plays out Habits shape markets far powerfully than laws A fantastic read on multiple counts

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The Master Switch The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

FterExplaining how invention begets industry and industry begets empire a progress often blessed by government typically with stifling conseuences for free expression and technical innovation alike Wu identifies a time honored pattern in the maneuvers of today’s great information powers Apple Google and an eerily resurgent ATT A battle royal looms for the Internet’s future and with almost every aspect of our lives now dependent on that network this is one war we dare not tune outPart industrial exposé part meditation on what freedom reuires in the information age The Master Switch is a stirring illumination of a drama that has played out over decades in the shadows of our national life and now culminates with terrifying implications for our futur An important book and a must read for policy makers and those who value freedom of expression and net neutralityMost of the book is devoted to tracing the history of information industries in the US telephone radio tv and film Tim convincingly describes how each industry inevitably goes through a cycle oscillating between an open decentralized network and a closed centralized one Some of the historic episodes were uite shocking to me Most prominent among those were learning how the FCC has been abused repeatedly to subdue thwart and cripple disruptive innovation from FM radio to television The prose may feel pedantic sometimes but the topic deserves the gravitasI read this book as Facebook comes close to acuiring 2 billion users Anyone who has read Zuckerberg s manifesto cannot but help comparing him to the information moguls described in this book It is a timely reminder of how information businesses have gathered and abused power in the past and what society needs to do to guard individual rights and freedom of expression

Tim Wu é 7 Free read

In this age of an open Internet it is easy to forget that every American information industry beginning with the telephone has eventually been taken captive by some ruthless monopoly or cartel With all our media now traveling a single network an unprecedented potential is building for centralized control over what Americans see and hear Could history repeat itself with the next industrial consolidation Could the Internet the entire flow of American information come to be ruled by one corporate leviathan in possession of “the master switch” That is the big uestion of Tim Wu’s pathbreaking bookAs Wu’s sweeping history shows each of the new media of the twentieth century radio telephone television and film was born free and open Each invited unre I believed in the power and existence of the master switch long before the publishing of this book because many future timelines by many famous Sci Fi authors point in this direction and because it is a logical and to a certain extent necessary step for both government and industry We are not at the end of history but probably at the end of new ways to control the information highways Augmented reality virtual reality and invasive techniues to participate better and efficient all won t change the fact that there will always be an underlying network internet LAN intelligent tree roots or whatever that connect the participants There will be standards and competitors and the best product will be used by most customers One can argue if it is good or bad if all this power lies in the hands of a few people but in a democratic state the control of all content to avoid extremism up to a dictatorship is something simply necessary and the line between too much and too less censorship is so thin and difficult to draw that it may be good that machines will do the job Probably they are objective and less prone do party principles and so the endless circle of corruption between lobbyists government and dominating industries will go on forever even efficient Former industries fell because they are compared to today s standard inflexible and unilateral not so say boring Just radio just a rigid TV program just an offline PC game come on Not as if TV and radio stations news corporations etc would learn from the past and try to modernize themselves Even if they would really want to they would have to cannibalize themselves because their push media program without active user participation is oldfashioned If they would change the whole subvention circle and political interests in official state owned propaganda stations would collapse and the information monopoly would have to be reconsidered They would have to allow active evaluation by users and let people produce critical true content to them better known as fake news Pest or cholera they lose whatever they do And there are antitrust laws the youth has the best potential to connect and act together old ideas become and ridiculous and pathetic and the human participation in important decisions becomes less and less And for me as a friendly technocratic science adorer this ist the most important point Automate everything and if someone has a problem with it give herhim a history book Sure there are some ideas to democratize the whole internet open source sharing economy creative commons etc But a national and global standard infrastructure and supervisory authority will always be needed to let the whole system run and fix problems I am a proponent of democratic and social innovations and a fairer economic system but I also see the importance of a master administrator with different kill switches And one must be realistic each free and great idea gets commercialized in a certain amount of time and the only viable option is to make the best compromise between civil society and big money Net neutrality and transparency must be prioritized with the help of techniues like open government and blockchain technology or the worst possible moloch as seen in China may arise An indestructible super behemoth with tentacles like an app as WeChat combines the worst mixture of totalitarian and turbocapitalistic ideas together and forces everyone to use it for daily life A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this yuck ugh boo completely overrated real life outside books


10 thoughts on “The Master Switch The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

  1. says:

    I learned a tonne writing it

  2. says:

    I believed in the power and existence of the master switch long before the publishing of this book because many future timelines by many famous Sci Fi authors point in this direction and because it is a logical and to a cert

  3. says:

    As with Nothing to Envy I should have written this review right after reading the book It was fantastic and I'd like to read it again Great history of the Information Empires of the 20th and early 21st century the continuing tension between openness and control The history of television seemed particularly instructive there was no early era of openness; instead Sarnoff RCANBC manipulated everything he could to make sure that it

  4. says:

    Wow Two of my favourite books in the recent past have been The Moral Animal and The Sovereign Individual I liked them because they brought out the fundamental patterns that underlie the evolution and behaviour of humans and the system of the world respectively The Master Switch does the same with communication and information empires His premise is this history has shown that communicationinformation technologies follow a predictable path i

  5. says:

    I started this a while back got half way and then moved on to his other books So I started it again and read it all the way through and I'm so glad I did This book is a fascinating history of monopoly power how it was built and how it shaped modern media the internet ATT etc It's just as relevant now as when it was written

  6. says:

    by Irina SlutskyhttpadagecomdigitalarticleartiSAN FRANCISCO AdAgecom Regular readers of Ad Age know that the companies that control the internet are if not obsessed then very concerned with the topic of network neutrality Most recently Google and Verizon were the two giants rud to have a plan to let users pay for faster access We already had the payola battle in radio now this is the payola battle of the internet said Tim Wu the man who coi

  7. says:

    An important book and a must read for policy makers and those who value freedom of expression and net neutralityMost of the book is devoted to tracing the history of information industries in the US telephone radio tv and film Tim convincingly describes how each industry inevitably goes through a cycle oscillating between

  8. says:

    I enjoyed this book very much All this information about the information industry was enlightening and really useful for u

  9. says:

    I happened upon this book after listening to NPR's On the Media I had never heard of Tim Wu before Now I am eager to go back and find some of his Slate articles Though Wu is a law professor this book is not a dense arcane

  10. says:

    a number of things sets this book back badly it deals only with the us with the exception of a few pages on the bbc thus the empires amounts to at most nation wide corporations within one country too restricted in time; only deals with the birth of telephony and onwards what about telegraphy the semaphor system deployed in france etc the a