Nick Bilton reports for The New York Times, “Tim Wu, the Columbia law professor who came up with the term ‘net neutrality’ in a research paper, has just written a new book, “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires,” published by Knopf. The book chronicles the rise and fall of companies that develop new technologies, and discusses the future of the Internet.”
Q: When did you first use the term “net neutrality”?
A: I was working in Silicon Valley in the early 2000s for a company that sold technologies designed to filter and block areas of the Internet. Something about it didn’t sit well with me. So I wrote a paper in 2002 for a conference that explained my thoughts on this. Originally, the phrase I was promoting was “broadband discrimination,” and I also said “network neutrality,” to capture the concept, which ended up becoming the default.
Q: What about Facebook?
A: I think Facebook is looking for a mentor, they are looking for a role model. Right now it is choosing between Apple and Google in this great war between open and closed. It is possible that whatever side Facebook takes will have a lot to do with the future of how we communicate.
Q: What worries you about Apple?
A: As I discuss in the book, Steve Jobs has the charisma, vision and instincts of every great information emperor. The man who helped create the personal computer 40 years ago is probably the leading candidate to help exterminate it. His vision has an undeniable appeal, but he wants too much control.
Q: What part of these “evil” acts are the C.E.O.’s and what part are the employees?
A: I think the mogul makes the medium, but it’s also true that once a firm has been in existence long enough, it begins to have a life of its own.
Q: Do you think that will apply to Apple?
Q: But who will take over it from Steve Jobs?
A: I think it may not matter. I think the mark of Steve Jobs is firmly placed on that firm, that it will continue to be him long after he passes from leadership.
Read more in the full article here.