Resetting the Rules for Tech to Preserve the Public Interest

Paulo Carvão is a Fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative. The technology marketplace has changed dramatically since the 1990s, and so must our expectations about the role and obligations of online platforms. We are living in a new phase of the “Information Revolution” in which technology is impacting and altering the way we communicate, how we relate to each other, the way we work, and the nature of work. This requires new laws, new regulatory frameworks, and new enforcement mechanisms.  To develop these new approaches, it is appropriate to take a step back and revisit the ideological, institutional, and technological dynamics that have brought us here, and to investigate how power got concentrated in a small number of large technology firms with business models deliberately shaped to exploit user data. And, it’s worth thinking about how the outcome of two cases currently before the Supreme Court – Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh – may create an opening for change. The History of “Progress” The early and formative days of the computer revolution took place in a moment of cultural torment in the United States. In the Silicon Valley of the late 1960s and 70s, the first technological demonstrations of modern concepts of personal computing and contemporary human-machine interfaces took place in the context of the civil rights movement, the unraveling of the Vietnam War, and economic upheaval. With a deep distrust of government authority and the counterculture movement happening in the background, these technological innovations inspired a…Resetting the Rules for Tech to Preserve the Public Interest