What people really need to know about the internet

Two weeks ago we hosted our second NetworkED seminar at LSE which was given by Professor John Naughton, who I had the fortune to work with last year as part of the Arcadia programme at Cambridge University Library. John’s new book was released in January this year, entitled, From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: what people really need to know about the internet. We live streamed the event but also recorded it so you can watch again via the NetworkED website. We had a really lively session with colleagues from academic departments and support services attending. I was particularly struck but one of the first of John’s key points, that we need to take the long view of the development of the internet and so early in internet history, it is almost impossible to predict the changes that it might bring about. He used the analogy of the printing press and how just 25 years after it’s invention in the 15th Century, it would be unimaginable for people to foresee the changes that the print revolution would bring about. There are nine key ideas in John’s book including the fact that most people have no idea how a technology they have come to rely on works, that disruption is a key feature of the technology and that the copyright laws are out of step with what is now technically possible. I’m enjoying reading it and recommend you take a look!

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