Is it over?
As 2007 begins, the shadows are lengthening, the funk is deepening, and there’s a bad meme on the rise. On January 5, Robert Cringely says that the net’s a house of cards, and it’s about to collapse under the weight of big video files. On January 6, Jeremy Reimer, of Ars Technica, says that video may put such a strain on the web that ISPs start regulating traffic, de-neutralizing the net. On January 7, John Markoff, in a big New York Times article on the proliferation of botnets, says, “the bad guys are honing their weapons and increasing their firepower.” On January 9, the ironically named Sunshine Mugrabi, at Red Herring, says, “Layoffs and debt-ridden companies abound in a dire sign of another dot-com bust.” This morning, Information Week reports that spam has hit unprecedented levels, accounting for 94% of all email.
And now, in a Wired interview, Jonathan Zittrain, the founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, raises the possibility of an Internet apocalypse, spurred by “software saboteurs.” “You really think the sky could be falling?” the interviewer asks. “Yes,” responds Zittrain. “Though by the time it falls, it may seem perfectly normal. It’s entirely possible that the past 25 years will seem like an extended version of the infatuation we once had with CB radio, when we thought that it was the great new power to the people.”
What are they putting in the Kool-Aid these days?