It is hard to pick up a major magazine these days without reading about the last days of the Internet, at least the world wide (open) web version of it. Recent cover stories by Wired, The Economist and Newsweek have all fretted about how private, cordoned-off spaces - be they Apple's apps or Facebook - are undermining the ethos and promise of the virtual commons. What gives? Was AOL's initial approach to create a walled-off community ahead of its time? Is the trend towards proprietary online cul-de-sacs reversible? Is the Internet merely succumbing to the same cycles all information technologies have experienced - from their freewheeling pioneer days to their buttoned-down commercialization - as Tim Wu argues in his upcoming book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires? Premature obits are decidedly uncool, so instead of proclaiming the Web's death, we invite you to join us to mull over the Internet's mid-life crisis. http://www.newamerica.net/events/2010/the_internets_mid_life_crisis
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