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The Master Switch

384 pages, 2011

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Description

In this age of an open Internet, it is easy to forget that every American information industry, beginning with the telephone, has eventually been taken captive by some ruthless monopoly or cartel. 

With all our media now traveling a single network, an unprecedented potential is building for centralized control over what Americans see and hear. Could history repeat itself with the next industrial consolidation? Could the Internet—the entire flow of American information—come to be ruled by one corporate leviathan in possession of “the master switch”? That is the big question of Tim Wu’s path-breaking book. 

As Wu’s sweeping history shows, each of the new media of the twentieth century—radio, telephone, television, and film—was born free and open. Each invited unrestricted use and enterprising experiment until some would-be mogul battled his way to total domination. Here are stories of an uncommon will to power, the power over information: Adolph Zukor, who took a technology once used as commonly as YouTube is today and made it the exclusive prerogative of a kingdom called Hollywood. 

The Cycle of Communication Technologies

In The Master Switch, Tim Wu explores the pattern of the rise and fall of communication technologies. He shows how they start as open and innovative, then become monopolized and closed off. It's a fascinating look into the history of technology and a warning for the future.

The Concept of Net Neutrality

Wu digs into the concept of net neutrality, explaining why it's crucial for maintaining an open and fair internet. He argues that without it, we risk falling into a cycle of monopolization and control. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the future of the internet.

The Influence of Big Corporations

The Master Switch provides a deep look into how big corporations can influence and control communication technologies. Wu's research shows how these corporations can stifle innovation and control information flow. It's a wake-up call for all of us to be more aware of who controls our information.

The Importance of Government Regulation

Tim Wu also explores the role of government regulation in preventing monopolies and promoting competition. He makes a compelling case for why we need more regulation to ensure a fair and open internet. If you're interested in the intersection of technology and policy, you'll find this book enlightening.

The Future of the Internet

Finally, Wu takes a look at the future of the internet. He warns that without proper regulation and vigilance, the internet could become monopolized and controlled by a few big corporations. It's a thought-provoking book that will make you see the internet in a new light.

Quotes 3

The Master Switch is a remarkable and important book. It brilliantly weaves together the complex threads of history into a clear, compelling narrative.

Lawrence LessigLawrence Lessig - Law Professor, Activist

Tim Wu's The Master Switch makes the complex history of telecommunications as gripping as a thriller.

Jonathan ZittrainJonathan Zittrain - Computer Science Professor

The Master Switch is a provocative look at the rise and fall of information empires and their impact on society.

Jeff JarvisJeff Jarvis - Journalist, Professor
Lawrence LessigJonathan ZittrainJeff Jarvis

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