Interoperability is both ubiquitous and subtle. Interop is why you can buy your shoes from one company and your shoelaces from another, and no-interop is why you can’t use apps on your Iphone unless Apple gives you permission to do so. Interop is all around us, but when it comes to digital technology, interop takes on a new significance: the universality of digital computers makes smart devices more interoperable
than, say, railroad tracks or jet engines.
That’s great news for computer users, but it’s hard cheese for shareholders in digital tech companies, who struggle to exclude their rivals. Ironically, the best tool for blocking tech interop isn’t tech – it’s law. A monotonically expanding constellation of restrictive laws have quietly confiscated the promise of digital self-determination in favor of a form of high-tech feudalism, where the only true “owners” of our devices are the immortal, transhuman colony organisms we call limited liability companies.
To reframe the discourse about dysfunctional technology and how to give
communities the power to adapt tools to suit their needs.
Five Things Audience Members Will Learn
- The historical role of interoperability in human progress
- The limits of interoperability in the pre-digital world and the power of interop after the digital transition
- The crucial role interop played in the growth of today’s tech giants
- The equally significant role today’s giants played in eliminating interop to protect their dominance
- How people who care about fair technology have common cause with all the campaigns that fight for human dignity and self-determination against abusive monopolies.
Anyone who has ever felt tricked, manipulated, bullied or coerced by their technology.