Author Howard Rheingold believes the freedom of technologists to innovate is under attack as never before.
“Our freedom to innovate is not necessarily going to be as free as it was in the pre-Internet era,” he cautioned. “We are at a pivotal point in the history of technology and a lot of assumptions should be questioned.”
Rheingold said the explosive growth of Internet-connected PCs, handhelds and cell phones had dramatically altered the cultural landscape. Thanks to connected computers, passive consumers have been transformed into active users, who create as well as consume content.
But vested interests — the music and movie industries, telecommunications companies and governments — are starting to clamp down politically and economically to protect their interests.