A great adjustment in human affairs is underway. Political, commercial and cultural life is changing from the centralized, hierarchical and standardized structures of the industrial age to something radically different: the economy of the emerging digital era. A History of the Internet and the Digital Future tells the story of the development of the Internet from the 1950s to the present, and examines how the balance of power has shifted between the individual and the state in the areas of censorship, copyright infringement, intellectual freedom and terrorism and warfare. Johnny Ryan explains how the Internet has revolutionized political campaigns; how the development of the World Wide Web enfranchised a new online population of assertive, niche consumers; and how the dot-com bust taught smarter firms to capitalize on the power of digital artisans. In the coming years platforms such as the iPhone and Android rise or fall depending on their treading the line between proprietary control and open innovation. The trends of the past may hold out hope for the record and newspaper industry. From the government-controlled systems of the Cold War to today's move towards cloud computing, user-driven content and the new global commons, this book reveals the trends that are shaping the businesses, politics and media of the digital future.

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