Why free speech on the web – as we once knew it – will be over within a decade.
A generation of economic pressure failed to regulate the internet. Outraged movie studios and record companies managed to cripple some file sharing pioneers, but broke their teeth on Google’s YouTube. Dot coms like Amazon, Google, Cragislist, eBay and Netflix casually wiped out entire retail industries from the local paper to the video rental place, costing tens of thousands of jobs. And nothing.
No amount of pressure from business interests could close down the internet. Politicians were still too invested in a vision of progress fueled by the growth of something that they did not understand.
"An iron curtain has descended across the Continent," Winston Churchill once warned. A digital iron curtain is now descending over the internet. Free speech as we once knew it will be over in a decade. The internet will still be a noisy place, but it will be a managed noise of echo chambers, a moderated system in which dissenting views will be treated as trolling and purged as quickly as they are identified.