I guess the question that occupies my mind a lot these days is:

Can we build a healthy, positive, life-affirming Internet?

I feel like large parts of our Internet infrastructure are toxic to mental health and social freedom and were designed that way on purpose, because the system seeks money, and you get more money by controlling people than by allowing them to flourish and reach their full potential. This has always been capitalism's big problem (and socialism's too).

But: apart from the problem of 'active engineering of our information and communication environment for short-term concentration of massive oligarchical wealth, leading to mental addiction and social collapse as unfortunate but mostly irrelevant side effects',

I think there are many other possible failure modes of networked personal computing. Many of them probably emergent effects.

I guess I want computing to be emotionally and mentally uplifting... and my frustrations come when it isn't.

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@natecull It’s a little emotionally uplifting to hear people like you wanting that sort of thing!

Nice not to be the only one.

@cy

I'm not sure how to read "people like you", since I'm just a random guy on the Internet. I don't have any levers I can pull to make anything happen.

It's just that I guess my first exposure to computing was Creative Computing Magazine in the 1980s as a kid so I sort of inhaled kind of that aspirational, late-hippie, educational idea of what computing could be, rather than the business view of a better way of doing accounting.

I think a lot of people maybe grew up with that too.

@cy

For perspective: when I was a kid/teenager in the 80s, lots of adults at the time were absolutely *scared* of computers. To them, computers were the tool of The Man or Government, they were something alien and dehumanising. I kept trying to explain that to me, they were like this neat Lego set that just buzzed with creative possibility. We didn't need to fear computers! We could use them!

But now that I'm an adult, I find myself worrying that those adults were right after all.

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@cy

and that fear seemed to set in for real right around the time the iPhone came out. I think up to then I still thought that there might be a direct path through Open Source and RSS and blogging to the sort of dreamy Buckminster Fuller kind of future in those 1970s 8-bit microcomputing magazines. Computers for the people, by the people. No central authorities making everyone line up in rows.

The iPhone was a neat toy but it pushed us back into that centralised future, and I don't like it.

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