Jonathan Zittrain, Law and Technology: The End of the Generative Internet, Comm. ACM, Jan. 2009, at 18.
Abstract: I recently wrote a book about the future of the Internet. The book's thesis is that the mainstream computing environment we've experienced for the past 30-plus years—dating from the introduction of the first mainstream personal computer, the Apple II, in 1977—is an anomaly. The basic building blocks of modern IT are PCs that anyone can reprogram, connected to an Internet that unquestioningly routes bits between two arbitrary points. This has led to a generative revolution where novel and disruptive technologies have come from obscure backwaters—and conquered. While incumbents bet on (or were) gated-community networks like CompuServe, Prodigy, and AOL, or makers of "smart appliances" such as dedicated word processors and video-game consoles, dark-horse candidates like the Internet and the PC emerged unexpectedly and triumphed, helped along by commercial forces that belatedly hopped on their bandwagons.