Show # 252 — Prof. Ben Peters on the history of the failed Soviet Internet — posted

Get ready for one of my common (but not yet patented — too abstract?) barrages of new shows over the next few days. That’s what weekends are for — catching up on Hearsay Culture postings! So,to quote XTC — appropriately in this insane election cycle and as one bulwark against the ignorance enveloping our political process — let’s begin!

I’m pleased to post the first of the Spring 2016 shows, Show #252 from April 22, with Prof. Ben Peters of the University of Tulsa, author of How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet.

Ben has written a fascinating, exquisitely written and thoroughly researched and contextualized history of the repeated failures over 30+ years to create a Soviet Internet. Not merely a history, Ben’s analysis and writing shines when he places the ebbs and tides of its development in the broader socio-political environment in which a few brave pioneers were operating. That the Soviet Internet never developed reveals far more about the nature of a closed but competitive administrative state than it does about the genius underlying failed efforts. In our interview, we discussed both the intuitive and counter-intuitive modern insights borne from Ben’s meticulous writing and research.

Thanks to Hearsay Culture repeat guest Frank Pasquale for affording the opportunity to meet Ben at Yale Law’s extraordinary Unlocking the Black Box conference in April, and I hope that all of you enjoy the interview as much as I did!

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