Dictionary of Arguments

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I 30
Zittrain/Morozov: Internet-centrism has also found its way into regulatory thinking. One of the most attractive contemporary theories of Internet regulation, developed by Jonathan Zittrain from Harvard, revolves around the idea of generativity. It is based on the premise that the openness of the platform is the main reason why "the Internet" has triggered so much innovation. On the "Internet" no one has to ask for permission to start a new service. (1) (See Terminology/Zittrain).
I 31
MorozovVsZittrain: But the theory of generativity does not deal with the sensitive issue of how the "Internet" itself will die - not at least because Zittrain, under the influence of the Internet-centrism, absolutely wants the "Internet" as an eternal medium. His theory is a recipe for how the Internet can live forever.
I 32
Of course, there are other strong social, political and even aesthetic concerns about the challenge posed by the rise of apps to digital "lifestyles", but claiming that Apple - one of the culprits according to Zittrain - is bad for innovation because it is bad for the "Internet" is like saying that "the Internet" is bad for innovation because it is bad for the phone.
I 33
The irony is that Zittrain's theory of generativity, which is very critical of gatekeepers such as Apple, is itself a gatekeeper. While generativity gives the go-ahead for a good, reliable and predictable innovation that promises to stay within the boundaries of the "internet" and to keep things as they are, the unruly and disturbing way that begins within the "internet" but eventually becomes transcended, repressed and perhaps even eliminated is pushed into the background. (...) But these criteria ((s) of openness and Internet compatibility) are only meaningful in a world where the well-being of the "Internet itself" is the essential of everything, the summum bonum.


1. Jonathan Zittrain, The Future of the Internet— and How to Stop It (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009).


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Morozov I
Evgeny Morozov
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