Wheels are Good and Right!

Cory Doctorow gave a talk on the ideals of General Purpose Computing and attacks on them, at the 28C3, the Chaos Computer Congress in Berlin.

Transcript by Joshua Wise.

Among other statements, Doctorow explains that you can’t regulate the internet and computers the same way you add and remove features from cars or smart phones.

He introduces a nice (even inspiring) analogy, by suggesting to see Information technology as a wheel, not as a car. He compares absurd, but more and more mainstream ideas to “fix the Internet so that it doesn’t run BitTorrent” with a fictional attempt to create a wheel that can have reduce uses.

“If I wanted Congress to […] to regulate a wheel, it’s unlikely I’d succeed. If I turned up and said “well, everyone knows that wheels are good and right, but have you noticed that every single bank robber has four wheels on his car when he drives away from the bank robbery? Can’t we do something about this?”, the answer would of course be “no”. Because we don’t know how to make a wheel that is still generally useful for legitimate wheel applications but useless to bad guys.”

We know of course, that the Internet is not a wheel, or better to say can stop being one with some lines of code, but it is so right to think this way and imagining it like this.

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