The revolution is just getting started. And theres more reason than ever to embrace militant optimism.
When we launched WIRED, we were accused of being Panglossian optimists. I embraced that as a badge of honor. The Digital Revolution was reinventing everything, and that was good. Twenty-five years on, that optimism is no longer justified—it’snecessary. Indeed: militant optimism.
WIRED’s premise was that the most powerful people on the planet weren't the politicians or generals, priests or pundits, but the people creating and using new technology. The state and politics were obsolete. We no longer needed to subcontract our responsibility for society to distant capitals. By using the new tools now radically empowering individuals, we could, ourselves work directly on making a better world.
Of course, the entrenched institutions being displaced weren’t giving up. Like the mainstream media. We used to joke that The New York Times would run a weekly variant of the headline “INTERNET: THREAT OR MENACE” (this despite having the best reporter in the Valley, John Mark off).
In the face of knee-jerk opposition, we developed a knee-jerk rejoinder: Change Is Good. Of course, we knew that all change wasn’t going to be good. But it was likely better than the alternative; so much was obsolete and needed to be swept away. Our position was, as the song went, that the future was so bright we had to wear shades.
And then the dot com bubble burst.
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