Bruce Sterling on The Cloud and the Transition Web.

March 2, 2009

in general

Via Gigaom Bruce Sterling talking in New Zealand about “The cloud as a platform” and “The Transition Web”. Thes ideas lead to good questions for these times. What happens when Web2.0 goes away? What replaces it?  I like his statement that the transition web is a “culture model”. I’ve picked out a few quotes below. I’ve always enjoyed his books and he’s part of the GBN network. With some of my recent posts I certainly agree with his last statement. “The future is unwritten”.

What Bruce Sterling Actually Said About Web 2.0 at Webstock 09

Okay, “webs” are not “platforms.” I know you’re used to that idea after five years, but consider taking the word “web” out, and using the newer sexy term, “cloud.” “The cloud as platform.” That is insanely great. Right? You can’t build a “platform” on a “cloud!” That is a wildly mixed metaphor! A cloud is insubstantial, while a platform is a solid foundation!………………

….what comes next is a web with big holes blown in it. A spiderweb in a storm. The turtles get knocked out from under it, the platform sinks through the cloud. A lot of the inherent contradictions of the web get revealed………

Web 2.0 goes away. Its work is done. The thing I always loved best about Web 2.0 was its implicit expiration date. It really took guts to say that:…….

A lot of issues that Web 1.0 was sweating blood about, they went away for good. The “digital divide,” for instance. Man, I hated that. All the planet’s poor kids had to have desktop machines. With fiber optic. Sure! You go to Bombay, Shanghai, Lagos even, you’re like “hey kid, how about this OLPC so you can level the playing field with the South Bronx and East Los Angeles?” And he’s like “Do I have to? I’ve already got three Nokias.” The teacher is slapping the cellphone out of his hand because he’s acing the tests by sneaking in SMS traffic…

We’ve got a web built on top of a collapsed economy. THAT’s the black hole at the center of the solar system now. There’s gonna be a Transition Web. Your economic system collapses: Eastern Europe, Russia, the Transition Economy, that bracing experience is for everybody now. Except it’s not Communism transitioning toward capitalism. It’s the whole world into transition toward something we don’t even have proper words for.

The Web has always had an awkward relationship with business. Web 2.0 was a business model. The Transition Web is a culture model. If it’s gonna work, it’s got to replace things that we used to pay for with things that we just plain use…..

The future is unwritten….

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jon Husband March 6, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I really like the Bruce sterling piece, especially these penultimate paras …

But you know, I’m not scared by any of this. I regret the suffering, I know it’s big trouble — but it promises massive change and a massive change was inevitable. The way we ran the world was wrong.

I’ve never seen so much panic around me, but panic is the last thing on my mind. My mood is eager impatience. I want to see our best, most creative, best-intentioned people in world society directly attacking our worst problems. I’m bored with the deceit. I’m tired of obscurantism and cover-ups. I’m disgusted with cynical spin and the culture war for profit. I’m up to here with phony baloney market fundamentalism. I despise a prostituted society where we put a dollar sign in front of our eyes so we could run straight into the ditch.

The cure for panic is action. Coherent action is great; for a scatterbrained web society, that may be a bit much to ask. Well, any action is better than whining. We can do better.

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