Monday 2014-08-18

How do we build an Internet we're not ashamed of?
-- Maciej Ceglowski

Every internet generation will have its Prodigy, AOL, Facebook, etc. that serves as "Internet with training wheels" and comes with centralized costs and benefits. This is ok. The Internet lets us be as idiotic or smart as we want to be, and that's part of its magic.

However, people point out that the same range doesn't exist with regards to money online, and so our digital selves are hobbled by real-world payment shackles and harried by advertisements. Despite being several generations into the Internet Era, we have not been able to create an online currency that's anonymous and private, like cash is in real life. And we might not ever be able to....

Assuming the latter as a basic digital constraint, payment gateways will always serve as centralized information traps. Again, this is ok. We can architect and direct our online spending around these systems as we see fit so as to avoid the pitfalls of data aggregation that waylay newbie online shoppers.

Some will argue that the default "training wheels" should not be so dangerous and intrusive. However, we all know from hard experience that the vast majority of default options in life range from craptacular to just plain unwise. Why should we expect these to be any different?