“A funny thing happened to us on the way to the future.”

An eminently sensible article by John Naughton in The Observer setting out nine big ideas, or steps, towards a better understanding of the internet.

1 Take the long view

2 The web isn’t the net

3 Disruption is a feature, not a bug

4 Think ecology, not economics

5 Complexity is the new reality

6 The network is now the computer

7 The web is changing

8 Huxley and Orwell are the bookends of our future

9 Our intellectual property regime is no longer fit for purpose

Read the whole thing.

As John Naughton adds

It would be ridiculous to pretend that these nine ideas encapsulate everything that there is to be known about the net. But they do provide a framework for seeing the phenomenon “in the round”, as it were, and might even serve as an antidote to the fevered extrapolation that often passes for commentary on developments in cyberspace. The sad fact is that if there is a “truth” about the internet, it’s rather prosaic: to almost every big question about the network’s long-term implications the only rational answer is the one famously given by Mao Zedong’s foreign minister, Zhou Enlai, when asked about the significance of the French Revolution: “It’s too early to say.” It is.

Indeed.