The Virtual Revolution

The Virtual RevolutionTwenty years on from the invention of the World Wide Web, Dr Aleks Krotoski looks at how it is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives.

Joined by some of the web’s biggest names – including the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, and the web’s inventor – she explores how far the web has lived up to its early promise.

The founding father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, believed his invention would remain an open frontier that nobody could own, and that it would take power from the few and give it to the many.

Now, in a provocative, strongly authored argument, presenter Aleks Krotoski will re-assess utopian claims like these, made over many years by the digital revolution's key innovators - and test them against the hard realities of the emerging Web today, exploring how the possibilities of the pure technology have been constrained, even distorted by the limitations of human nature.

The Great Levelling? In the first in this four-part series, Aleks charts the extraordinary rise of blogs, Wikipedia and YouTube, and traces an ongoing clash between the freedom the technology offers us, and our innate human desire to control and profit.

Enemy of the State? With contributions from Al Gore, Martha Lane Fox, Stephen Fry and Bill Gates, Aleks explores how interactive, unmediated sites like Twitter and YouTube have encouraged direct action and politicised young people in unprecedented numbers.

The Cost of Free. She tells the inside story of the gold rush years of the dotcom bubble and reveals how retailers such as Amazon learned the lessons. She also charts how, out of the ashes, Google forged the business model that has come to dominate today's web, offering a plethora of highly attractive, overtly free web services, including search, maps and video, that are in fact funded through a sophisticated and highly lucrative advertising system which trades on what we users look for.

Homo Interneticus? Joined by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Al Gore and the neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, Aleks examines the popularity of social networks such as Facebook and asks how they are changing our relationships. And, in a ground-breaking test at University College London, Aleks investigates how the Web may be distracting and overloading our brains.

Watch the full documentary now (playlist - 3 hours, 56 minutes)

641
8.61
12345678910
Ratings: 8.61/10 from 23 users.
  • 420 Vision

    Information can set us free, or it can imprision us. Information can open our minds to new possibilities, or it can manipulate us through propaganda. Now more than ever it is critical that we use our instincts to decide what to believe while visiting the exhibits along the information highway.

  • John Seals

    @ 420

    Amen brother, information being exposed to edit by the general public can be misleading and bent toward an agenda. Not that the mass media isn't guilty of the same. No matter where you get your info. you have to read between the lines and apply the middle rule. Somewhere in between the extremes is usually the truth.

  • http://www.krashbox.com HaTe_MaChInE

    Oh and I believe the site is "powered" by WordPress... Just a guess cause I really dont know what W3Edge is.

  • John Seals

    @ hate Machine

    You didn't get it at all dude. She wasn't saying the internet was free and she never said it allowed for free choice of format. What she said, and what is true, is that it is a redundant system that is set up to resist blockage. Saying that print is more easily distributed or a more effective medium is absolutedly absurd. You know that you do not have to buy space to put your idea or statements online. We are doing it right now and more people will see this than I could ever hope to reach handing out pieces of paper. To get a publisher to handle all of it you have to be a writer with a story that will sale, not just any body can get a book published. Those people in Iran found out that the internet allowed them for the very first time to step around thier government and get the info. out wether the powers that be liked it or not. Further more they where able to do it with out risking the govt. finding out who they where. try to get that same security when you are writing it down and physically handing it to someone. The internet is not easily censured. My Isp blocks several sites but i get them all the time through the back door. You seem to just like to disagree, I can not believe you actually believe the things you just posted. I would think someone that throws around so much fancy IT jargon would also know you can get around almost any firewall or blockage you want to try and stop people with. So you explain to me how the internet is so easily censured. Because moderators control what gets through and what gets tossed. This is true, moderators are in a position to censure and controll info. Still they usually only remove cursing and off topic statements. Thier has to be enough control to keep things productive, I hardly call that censurship. I can see that now we have companies that are getting to large and holding monopolies on things like search engines. This is not good and must be watched, someone like Google could control info by not attatching it to the correct tags. Then it would be out here and no one would be able to find it if they did not have the correct URL. These are potential dangers but they have yet to come to fruition. The internet is still the most easily accessed and edited info. provider that has ever existed, to try and belittle that fact makes you seem simple.

    @ rtm

    I'm sure you do it is a normal reaction to her beauty. What is not normal is that you obviousely felt the need to share that urge with every one. I am a red blooded healthy male as well, I just use more discretion and value class. If you try this aproach you may find she is attracted to you as well, not this woman but some other beautiful female. I assure you though as long as you blurt out your intentions publicly you can give up on women of this caliber.

  • http://www.krashbox.com HaTe_MaChInE

    John Seals - " Saying that print is more easily distributed or a more effective medium is absolutedly absurd."

    Really... Go to a third world and count the ipads. Lookup the population of the world that doesn't even have electricity.

    I will make the statement that books are by for less regulated and more easily distributed the anything on the internet. I have no problems explaining how to create a book. I would like to hear your explanation of the differences between RIPv2 and EIGRP.

    You are glorifying a technology you don't understand.

    I will wager that you are someone that doesn't mind paying $60 a month for a connection for their $400+++ computer so you can play farmland.

    Ask a child in the slums of São Paulo if he wants a $60 monthly fee or a math book... I think I might guess the answer but it might just be wishfull thinking.

  • man at the web

    Web is the most important thing that we as humans have.
    IF some organizations and people are able to limit it to few thousand pages. It's like the return to the dark age.

  • http://pacha34.wordpress.com Pacha

    So the guy who invented the internet is the same person as the architect in The Matrix?

    @ Hate Machine. I disagree that you need to pay for the internet and i'm about to prove it by cutting off my connection tommorrow. I can go online all over the place for free. I paid nothing for my blog or its name by the way.
    In fact I got my laptop free too so I just need to charge the battery every now and the whole experience costs nothing.

  • ez2b12

    @ Hate Machine

    Actually, smart ass, I am a IT grad. I have worked for Motorola for about the last ten years. I recently was in a accident and ended up having to stop working and go back to school. Now I am persuing a degree in physics. My first major was theology and I minored in computer information systems. I understand very well how network communications works, don't be so presumptive next time jr.

  • http://phallusophy.wordpress.com Al

    Oh, bulls***. Predominant websites somehow proves some kind of top-down elite authority? Pffft. Does she bring to any concern the factor of consumers having MADE those websites as big as they are? Web pages only have as much power as the people that use it. There is no coercion here, unlike in the real world. The real world is often what restricts the Web.

    I agree with the guy in Wikipedia--norms and mores can be born out of a decentralized bottom-up system, though I agree with the girl narrating only in the aspect where she talks about the web keep breaking new frontiers (i.e., being dynamic). The Web is competitive. The Web and the State together is dangerous, but I do not believe it is the Web that should be condemned. The Web is a means, and a collaborative and open one, and that means open to abuse as well, but that will be counter-acted because the Web is collaborative and open.

    The State, a monopoly of theft and force, the Web is definitely hijacked by authoritarians in the real world. But through the means of the web to hijack real life, we can combat this as well. The Web in itself is empowering because of its structure, not because of its lack of evil people and intentions from real world hierarchical structures.

  • http://phallusophy.wordpress.com Al

    Also, there is no fight between money and openness. Openness implies both the ability to go commercial and to not, and I don't see anything wrong with that as long as there is consumer choice.

    Often, monopolies and cartels are created by regulation, and lack of business discipline created by State-created corrupted incentive structures.

  • santosh limbu

    gr8 documentry....really love it....

  • Henry

    Anyone know WTF is ?? or ?
    It's not j or J... its the only thing I have ever typed on google and get 0 results. (same on Bing,Yahoo, Ask, Etc)

  • Henry

    ummm.... never mind I guess the characters can't be displayed here.

  • Sadie the Celt

    Ive only watched part 1 - this is so interesting, Im devoid of opinion. I need to ponder on this awhile, Ive got a load on facts/information in my brain, I must analyse and mentally file before I see parts 2-4 incl. Thanks for this!

  • Sadie the Celt

    ...(ten minutes later after experiencing a vision!)

    can I ask, does anybody 'feel' another 'bloggers' aura on the internet? - I mean has anybody experienced a mental image? - I will even go as far as to say 'have you 'felt' a personality too?'
    this is wierd, I never thought I would be asking this but I have just had the most incredible visions, I could even draw them - and give them names and dialects, and homes and clothes - et al, IF you know what I mean?
    please tell me Im not going mad....please

  • Sadie the Celt

    ....ten minutes later after another think

    yes - can I also ask, does anyone feel the 'power' of bloggers (when they blog?) - or weakness also, (for that matter) - do you consider bloggers to be omnipotent? or a 'bit of a joke'? _ and IS there another word I could use for 'Blogger'? is that the correct description/analogy?
    thank you - happy Sunday to you all. from Sadie in Sunny South Wales! x

  • http://manosis.info Argentina Kugel

    I have to say that I really enjoy this website. I felt compelled to drop a comment and say what a wonderful job you've done. I wish other sites would put so much time into their blog. Keep the posts coming.

  • Jiminy

    Tracking down books and burning them has always been a great challenge to authorities throughout history. Turning off, or filtering the internet would be trivial, centralized task in comparision.

    As a B.Sc.in Physics and a job as a Cisco/Microsoft engineer, I tent to agree with HaTe_MaChInE. People are infatuated with the internet, although they dont understand how or why it works, or have thought it through in regards to the paradigm it changes.

  • Timm Dah

    Life has reached a stage where our evolution is enhanced by the connections and technology we have allowed to us and the development of these is being furthered and furthered because it appears to do no harm. This documentary simply opened the pandora's box. Stepped back and said, "What have we here?" ..The good, the bad, the ugly.

    If anything human nature from Homo-erectus, to hom spaian to now homo-connecticus is accerating so quickly that, to use a darwinism here, you either join in or become super-ceded at your peril.

    What I would like to ask is, what do we do when this technology fails us? And we are so reliant on it mass-producing our progress. We put our faith in it, and irradicate all other religions as this is now the new religion.

    It's incredibly exciting, but scary and breath-taking at the same time..

    Where to next?

    Can it ever be controlled?

    I think not. It reminds me of tower's of bable and wings melting too close to the sun. The analogies are endless.

    Take care. (out there) ;-)

    Timm.

  • http://www.smurf.com Lawrence Sipple

    That’s genuinely a wonderful submit ! Added to my favourite blogs checklist.. We've been reading your weblog final couple of weeks and get pleasure from just about every bit. Thanks.

  • Meagan

    Does anyone know if there is a transcript of this documentary somewhere?

  • Jo McKay

    Good review. Was anticipating new revelations - did not deliver on that front, but was worth watching non the less. Did provide however a new SHEEP-ISM - referring to the impact of all the "People who LIKE this also bought this" software, a contributor says: So the more 'like me'recommends I try, the more 'like me' I become, which in effect, makes me less ME and more of the like me demographic group. - Gotta love that.

  • Troy

    I watched this series on tv awhile ago & its actually very good

    Dont listen to the "hate machines" arrogant response above

    No shit sherlock, the internet & its processes are of course not free but the ability to converse with people around the globe about various issues typed/filmed by your own self, making your life a little easier being able to pay a bill at 10.30 at night, finding items you want & wont find at your local shopping center, & much more, is & i also belive if you want to own a book you have to pay for it too, Mr genius

    This doucumentary gives the common person & small insight into how the web has/is evoulving & an insight into potential issues (social, political, economical etc) arrising from it

  • Ego Death

    Those who like this, also bought THIS.

  • Abjective

    A very good documentary. its good to now how the internet is evolving. Its the fasting growing phenomina with people all over the world are interacting. Theres so much you can already do. people spend hours on a regular basis on it. Peoples lives now depend on it. It will be interesting to know what the people in charge of the worlds servers will do with all our data. The internet is the best thing to interact with any part of the world in a instant. Fantastic!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_75C2WKPDPZSPUUTG5KX3N64MDI Violetta

    You don't necessarily have to pay for internet. You can go to a library. You don't need to buy a website to get your opinion across either. You just did it right here, and I am right now. People on Youtube too don't have to pay to get their opinion heard either. However, very little people see these opinions compared to the hits that Peta gets. The internet is very liberating, you practically say and see anything you want, except some countries have some restrictions.
    I do agree with your quote though and see some consequences resulting from technology and the ignorance of it.

  • http://www.thesussexseo.co.uk/ David Hawkins

    Must admit, I enjoyed that a lot more than I thought. I usually watch science and travel documentaries to get away from bloody computers but I definitely learned something here. I get the feeling that 10 years from now we'll look back at how liberal people are today withtheir opinions and think, 'back in the good ol' days' :)

  • so.necessary

    Dr. Aleks Krotoski is hot!!! She made watching this worthwhile.

  • mrhiab

    @ so.necessary...lmao your a sick person

  • DorneanuEduard

    very intersting

  • Liebewitz

    apart from all that-presenter Kratoski-or whoever-seemingly has the corpus collosum and limbic sytem working overtime-in a 'please-look at me-I am beautiful-NOW'-it took 20 years but -I am ---please look at me-!!!

  • Liebewitz

    viewing this-several years after broadcast

    latest brief comment on final episodes. K -in a underground carpark-saying secrecy is paramount(my words)-interviewing a guy fully captioned ie Scmitt
    very secret!
    also location -one can hear the BBC luvies saying 'so Watergate'-just silly!!!!!

  • Liebewitz

    twitter? facebook? what ? Whover signs up for this/them-are as unaware of their stupidty-as Ms KI.

    still watching interminable episodes of 'ugly duckling to- ugly larger bird--swanning around the globe -striving to 'look '---and be clever;and sliding up to much cleverer folk-and possibly rich and powerful (note to Alexs)

    So-Alexs-are you fulfilled-as you finish a BBC junket-to make further career progress-as Sigmund might say -are you making you Daddy happy'

    NB -I don't know her-nor have any professional rivalry. It' s just the inanity of it all- Suckciety-Society looking at itself-

  • Liebewitz

    so what has made me so 'exercised'? I guess having the latest x gen person telling 'us' the obvious1

    It's all so commonsense. Free? Never thought so!

  • Liebewitz

    oh-almost forgot-

    Maybe the hive of bees -is due to..........

    the ubiquitous S Fry-or the stupid person's clever person-'if you will'(a phrase so enchanting to his type)-
    this uber example of today's 'luvee' culture.

  • Liebewitz

    ...plus the silly visual metaphors. Episodes stating the obvious-even for lame brains in 2008----yada yada yada

    I'm outta here

    end!

  • Liebewitz

    episodes still going...

    stop it!

    Ms K'-using concepts of irony-and words such as 'paradox'-'do not a clever person make.
    Nor does it disguise -a woman's need to be seen as 'attractive' . ms K-is still doing the 'head flicks-the pouting-as she types with preternatural nails or talons perhaps-on possibly the most expensive looking laptop in the western world. More 'sex in the city'-than an insightful doc.

    NB-has anyone -ever asked the very obvious question...?

    It might be interpreted as mysogynistic by some idiots--but the question is taboo.....

    Notwithstanding their excuse of historical handicaps---

    what have 'the ladies' ever invented-or more importantly produced?
    And -don't say -people via gestation!!!!

    Not even the manufacture of sanitary pads and tampons.
    Adverts for decades condescend to them-... without their notice.

    Curiously-as I write-I hear Ms K say-'wings beneath my....

    -beneath something

  • geamala

    this woman is hot! and she likes using her laptop in exotic locations. I wonder where she is walking all the time?

  • http://profiles.google.com/crix.makin Toffee TechNoir

    "The internet as I know it is an experiment by DARPA handed over to universities ran by committees enforcing standards in a world wide bureaucracy."

    Correct.

    However;
    They were talking about the world wide web, not the internet. They even clarified that distinction to avoid people conflating the two.

  • Shakil Khan

    If ICANN has no affiliation with any political entity, why did they shut down wikileaks?

  • http://www.thesussexseo.co.uk/ David Hawkins

    I would love to get my hands on "The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley". It's really similar to this but I can't find it anywhere! Any ideas?

  • hosa

    lamest most generic doc evarr!!

  • Yung Chan Jin

    It's surprising that google earns 200 dollers per second!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1645134466 C Renee Wright

    lol....this is the story of "nbc" discovery.lol....yoU people are a trip.....

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DUCMJC5FMMVPSRAFVCQCQTW5UE scottyladdy

    why do men who are journalist, or presenters in these travel programs always wear blue shirts and white trousers?

  • http://twitter.com/patoivanfer Talking Head

    Drinking game: have a very small sip of any drink of your liking everytime she says "revolution". If you're still alive at the end, you win.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Edward-Campbell/100002288284461 Edward Campbell

    Psychology of colour.

  • henrymart81

    I'm at the beginning then came upon commentary by Al Gore and Stephen Fry. I've seen enough of this one, next!

  • HOwery

    are not on there agenda. Anylized to the max. That don't sound good. How
    did you learn to think with the schools now days hosa? Glad you made
    it.

  • Larry

    Sue, 4 years later, I totally agree about twitter,facebook and other social networking sites. Who would put their daily lifes events on such sites so ALL can view,never understtod that...........Larry

  • Larry

    Do you realize HOW much more one has gained and still has access to, knowledge wise, due to the world wide web/internet.........Larry