February 09, 2017

Internet! Credit: Julian Burgess / Wikimedia

The internet is pretty cool. After all, where else could you order super-fancy organic tea at 3 in the morning? Or look up who played the main conquistador in Aguirre, The Wrath of God? But, as cool and world-changing as the internet is, Nathan Schneider thinks there are some major flaws in it. Namely, that we don’t have a stake in most of the services we use. Schneider is the editor of Ours to Hack and Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet, and he talks with us about making the online world more equitable.

Three Takeaways:

  • According to Schneider, we don’t own nearly enough of the internet. Our data is increasingly the province of large corporations, while “sharing economy” apps that we use may not have our best interests at heart.
  • Schneider wants to rethink the internet by making it more co-operative, taking a page from co-operative farms, the Associated Press, electric co-ops, and lots more. He essentially wants the internet’s platforms to work with us in mind.
  • What would this new internet look like? Well, not all that different from the internet of today, just less focused on cutthroat capitalism. Schneider points out that in Colorado, the largest taxi service in the state (by number of taxis), edging out Uber, is a taxi co-operative. And there are many more examples.

More Reading:

Nathan Schneider, Sci and Tech, Kara Miller, Internet

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