Back in 2018 I wrote about people lamenting the state of the Web and Internet. A major visionary and luminary in that was Theodor Holm Nelson, a name which, while some might know, not enough people know.
Given all we’ve experienced in the last five years, from exploitation of the Internet to spread misinformation to abuse via cybercrime, some of it endorsed as if by letters of marque by governments, how Internet and Web have evolved is less than most might have wished.
And now, when I have little to fear from either reprisals or compressions of my financial situation, I can freely say that popular society’s proclivity to put down the insights and genius of people like Ted Nelson is incredibly detrimental to their own interests and chills and dampens the cultural imagination which is the initiative behind all economic enterprise and success. We see it in Elon Musk. Except that Elon Musk is no Ted Nelson. Ted Nelson is much, much bigger, no matter what Mr Musk is worth.
I hope that the formative years of the Internet will be remembered, and that its lessons, from early to present will be examined by something and someone more than the crass, exploitative, monetary interests of those who mediate its present networks.
Whatever the state of the Internet and Web, while these forces and influences had a role, the ultimate failure lies in the hands of the consumer, who was happy to get product at no apparent cost, and was so incurious they did not ask questions.
In a modern age, a public which is incurious is a public which has no economic future.