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quotations about the internet

Well, the Internet is this miracle. It is an absolutely extraordinary idea that you can press a send button, and you are publishing to the world.

BARRY DILLER, USA Today, Apr. 30, 2009

The Net is pretty cool, but the physical world is the best medium ever.

JEFF BEZOS, Playboy, Feb. 2000

Sometimes we do get taken by surprise. For example, when the Internet came along, we had it as a fifth or sixth priority. It wasn't like somebody told me about it and I said, "I don't know how to spell that." I said, "Yeah, I've got that on my list, so I'm okay." But there came a point when we realized it was happening faster and was a much deeper phenomenon than had been recognized in our strategy.

BILL GATES, speech at Washington University, Jul. 2, 1998

The NET is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it.

WILLIAM GIBSON, The New York Times, Jul. 14, 1996

The internet today is an open platform where the demand for websites and services dictates success. You've got barriers to entry that are low and equal for all comers. And it's because the internet is a neutral platform that I can put on this podcast and transmit it over the internet without having to go through some corporate media middleman. I can say what I want without censorship. I don't have to pay a special charge. But the big telephone and cable companies want to change the internet as we know it. They say they want to create high-speed lanes on the internet and strike exclusive contractual arrangements with internet content-providers for access to those high-speed lanes. Those of us who can't pony up the cash for these high-speed connections will be relegated to the slow lanes ... We can't have a situation in which the corporate duopoly dictates the future of the internet and that's why I'm supporting what is called net neutrality.

BARACK OBAMA, podcast, Jun. 8, 2006

I like the trail that the Internet created. For example, I was watching one of those Douglas Sirk movies, and I noticed that Rock Hudson towered over everyone, and I typed in "How tall was" and I saw "How tall was Jesus," and I'm like, "Sure," and half an hour later you're somewhere you didn't expect to be. It doesn't work that same way in books, does it? Even if you have an encyclopedia, the trail isn't that crazy. I like that aspect of it.

DAVID SEDARIS, interview, June 2009

There're so many ads on the Internet these days, they should call it the InfoMERCIAL Superhighway!

TOM WILSON, Ziggy, Nov. 5, 1999

I absolutely believe the Internet is passing from its free days into a paid system. Inevitably, I promise you, it will be paid. Not every single thing, but anything of value.

BARRY DILLER, ZDNEt interview, Jun. 10, 2009

Stupid Internet. I don't know why everyone is so impressed with it.

PAMELA ANDERSON, Elle Magazine, Mar. 19, 2014

Individual web pages as they first appeared in the early 1990s had the flavour of person-hood. MySpace preserved some of that flavour, though a process of regularized formatting had begun. Facebook went further, organizing people into multiple-choice identities while Wikipedia seeks to erase point of view entirely. If a church or government were doing these things, it would feel authoritarian, but when technologists are the culprits, we seem hip, fresh, and inventive. People accept ideas presented in technological form that would be abhorrent in any other forms.

JARON LANIER, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

When you know too much information and you acquire it too easily, you tend to either use it in disagreeable ways, out of vanity, or you tend to be indiscriminate about it. I mean, in the old days, it was tricky, you had to go to various encyclopedias, you had to go to the library, maybe spend a day there, whatever. But in the end, if you found something, it was really exciting. Now you hit a couple of buttons and you get some information. Which, by the way, is almost always presented in that same goddamn mediocre style that characterizes the Internet for me. It is slightly deadening.

NORMAN MAILER, Rolling Stone, May 3, 2007

At just the time that the Internet is reminding us about the extraordinary value of freedom, the Internet is being changed to take that freedom away. Just as we are beginning to see the power that free resources produce, changes in the architecture of the Internet--both legal and technical--are sapping the Internet of this power. Fueled by a bias in favor of control, pushed by those whose financial interests favor control, our social and political institutions are ratifying changes in the Internet that will reestablish control and, in turn, reduce innovation on the Internet and in society generally.

LAWRENCE LESSIG, The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World

Back in the 1980s, when the internet was only available to a small number of pioneers, I was often confronted by people who feared that the strange technologies I was working on, like virtual reality, might unleash the demons of human nature. For instance, would people become addicted to virtual reality as if it were a drug? Would they become trapped in it, unable to escape back to the physical world where the rest of us live? Some of the questions were silly, and others were prescient.

JARON LANIER, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto

Each time we dispatch an email in one way or another, we feel a sense of accomplishment, and our brain gets a dollop of reward hormones telling us we accomplished something. Each time we check a Twitter feed or Facebook update, we encounter something novel and feel more connected socially (in a kind of weird, impersonal cyber way) and get another dollop of reward hormones. But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centres in the prefrontal cortex. Make no mistake: email-, Facebook- and Twitter-checking constitute a neural addiction.

DANIEL J. LEVITIN, The Organized Mind

Rest assured, I was on the Internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.

COMIC BOOK GUY, "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show", The Simpsons

There's going to be an i-9/11 event. Which doesn't necessarily mean an Al Qaeda attack, it means an event where the instability or the insecurity of the internet becomes manifest during a malicious event which then inspires the government into a response. You've got to remember that after 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.... So I was having dinner with Richard Clarke and I asked him if there is an equivalent, is there an i-Patriot Act just sitting waiting for some substantial event as an excuse to radically change the way the internet works. He said "of course there is".

LAWRENCE LESSIG, Fortune Brainstorm panel, "2018: Life on the Net", 2008


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