I looked it up and it’s page 331 in the paperback for the full story, or just look for the only page-mention of “Esther Dyson” in the index.
We in the West have got to stop it with the moral superiority/manifest destiny, and start taking a good look at what it is we're doing to make the future worse, not better. If Iran can point it out, we most certainly can see it for ourselves - but of course we have to get past the superiority hubris which disallows any honest discourse on the subject of how our 'superior' technological societies are actually enslaving us all, not making us better.
Case in point - so far in this thread, nobody has had the temerity to point out that Western hubris is the real enemy here.
Interesting story otherwise.
Not surprising, many governments are hostile to the idea of a free and open Web that Google advances, believing their national values--or the governing regime -- are threatened. I soured on attending the World Economic Forum in Davos several years ago because I found too many panels there to be insufferably polite and boring--designed to bestow
backslaps on corporate and government attendees. But what is mind stretching about Davos, and different from most conferences, is that attendees come from all over the world and bring with them different sets of values and assumptions about the meaning of words. I remember a panel in the late nineties moderated by Esther Dyson, an early champion of the Internet. She opened by extolling the democratic values --
freedom, liberty, access to all information -- advanced by the Web. The former foreign minister of Denmark chimed in with his agreement, emphasizing that the Web gave individuals more freedom. He and Dyson thought they were
taking the unassailable moral high ground.
For the next several minutes, they sat slack-jawed as Singapore's ambassador to the United States challenged them. He said his government licensed Internet use with the idea that the Web must serve society, not the individual. "By licensing you are asking for responsible use," he said. An Egyptian diplomat educated in America chimed his agreement. He favored regulating "human dignity" situations, such as expressions that might be construed as "racist." He urged
the adoption of international standards to prevent freedom of speech from being too free. Astonished, Dyson and the former foreign minister challenged these ideas as threats to "liberal values."
"I am not a liberal," a member of the Iranian Parliament shot back, declaring that his government opposed the "pollution" of Western democratic values spread over the Web. "A nonliberal system does not equal intolerance," he said, explaining that his country favored "community" over "individual" values.
This exchange was a reminder that "common values" are not always common, and that Google, whose mission is to share and make the world's information accessible, will always have government bears to contend with.
It's become increasingly clear that, for many western intellectuals, freedom of thought and expression are things they only value in the abstract, not in messy reality. Nobody ever said that these things must only act towards the unmitigated good of all individuals and the greater society. But faced with any negative consequences, of free speech, free association, free markets, technological development, or simply an increase in populist politics that conflicts with their liberal or neo-liberal beliefs, they react with panic, swiftly looking to the most ugly, repressive regimes on the planet, and praising their worst excesses as merely evidence of some wise exercise of power, saving their populaces from the mischief they might get into if trusted to talk amongst themselves.
That members of all ruling classes, even democratic ones, would be tempted to increase state power and restrict civil society, is not something that surprises me. That so many of an intellectual class born and raised in democratic societies, which granted them a historically unprecedented degree of freedom and security, would champion or at least tolerate those restrictions, simply because Facebook scares them, is utterly baffling.
Much of that is informed by the fact that media and expression in the West have been far less free and open than is commonly thought, and the institutions revered there quite often speak with forked tongues, or act with two faces.
Look up Orwell's "Politics and the English Language", or at John Stuart Mill's criticisms of the educational establishment (primary, secondary, and university) as organs of the establishment. I've been surveying various Chomsky lectures and interviews over the past few years, as well as his books and writings. Robert McChesney would be another critic. And neither of them represent the conservative right as Niall Ferguson does (I'm generally not inclined to agree with Ferguson, or much care for him, though he has a point here). Or Clay Shirky, who's also noted that the promise of bringing people closer together online ... seems to have fallen somewhat flat.
And that's before considering the various forms of censorship, surveillance, distraction, and manipulation that's been practiced now with the power, reach, and scale of the Internet.
Borgatti has free software for SNA: http://www.analytictech.com/products.htm
The math/sociology is broadly applicable, from Palantir to Facebook to humanitarian programs, https://www.rescue.org/sites/default/files/document/1263/soc... (2016)
Theory intro: http://www.mjdenny.com/workshops/SN_Theory_I.pdf (2014)
It's not a non sequitir it's just written in shorthand.
I'm not 100% sure I agree with the sentiment (choose your artisanally crafted, perfectly engineered filter bubble versus just media is crap) but it seems to me a valid opinion among the spectrum of possible opinions to have about this.
The grip of consensus measures is not suffocating. You have to surf them with feature detection. Contests are staged and sometimes usefully to draw attention. But we have good Webs of real news around newer consensus narratives more powerful than ads or fake news. We even have Snopes where we doubts remain.
Life is not much of a debate. Contests and debates are most of the bullshit that walks. Programmatic operations around design realizations talks and walks.
"Servitude" for good operations in good ecosystems with good outcomes is better than fine. The "in charge" positional goods are rare by definition. But rot at our tops and even collusion in industrial felonies (Enron? Wells Fargo?...) is mostly preordained by an accidental empire in decline.
The Santa Fe Institute folks narrate our history and recent dog-eat-dog challenges pretty credibly at different comparative and resource accounting resolutions. Fixing our very specific post-WW2 population Boom and short lived apartheid empire is not possible by grand gesture. Culture, know how, will, patience and trust do not grow on trees. Even trees grow slowly. Interesting times to be a human and learn how we got here.