Internet's own boy

Posted by StuffonmyMind on June 14, 2020


I was quite sick this weekend and couldn’t focus on work, so I was checking out twitter where someone has posted about how MIT, guided by open access principles, ends Elsevier negotiations and a lot of people were happy but visibly frustrated about what had happened with Aaron Swartz who fought and died for the same principles, Someone also had posted a link of this documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz on Youtube.

Check it on:

I don’t normally write about the documentaries I watch but this one actually left me shook, I am writing this here cause I do not want to forget how angry and hopeless I felt and how much it resonated with me.

Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. What people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity

The only thing I learnt from going to college was how useless college was. It was the people that made college worth going to and my interactions with them. I think what sucks about school and college and the carefully compiled million year old curriculum with outdated concepts that we are forced to Memorize Regurgitate and Forget.

There is hardly any incentive to stray outside the line and most of the times you are punished for it, They continue to churn out graduates with the curiosity of an eggplant while their money machine goes brrrr…

The worst part is that the system is being fixed by the very ones who rigged it in the first place.

In college we used to get extra credit for publishing research papers in popular journals, they used to give us marks based on the impact factor of the journal. I observed that most of the journals had all their articles behind a giant paywall or charged a fee to publish your paper. But what hurt students the most was these huge reputed journals behind a paywall so we had to resort to free blogs for content rather than research papers and that’s something no student should be forced to do. In the end we all fell in love with arxiv and published our papers there but our faculty didn’t give us the extra credit cause it is not a “real publication”. So I guess you need to scam students and make money of their backs to be a “real publication”.

A piece of knowledge, unlike a piece of physical property, can be shared by large groups of people without making anybody poorer

Knowledge should never be locked up ! it is a fundamental right and immoral

Think deeply about things. Don’t just go along because that’s the way things are or that’s what your friends say. Consider the effects, consider the alternatives, but most importantly, just think.

There is a part in the Documentary where Aaron’s dad asks, do you know the difference between Aaron Swartz and tech tycoons like Bill gates and Mark Zuckerberg. They all had the power of programming, while the others wanted to make a million bucks, Aaron decided to change the world.

This is the how heroes are made: it’s very cliche but they refuse to take the easy way out. Imagine being a prodigy, having developed a software as influential as RSS and co-founding reddit before you are old enough to order a drink. You are set for life. You don’t have to care about politics or open software, you have a life of power in front of you.

He fought for the causes he believed in and wanted to change the laws he deemed unjust

This is super relevant now since the laws are clearly not evolving at the speed of technology, lets consider the example of AI generated art and think about who should own it, now take a look at well seems like your answer is as good as anyone’s and this sucks that we are still in this situation.

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves

We have all seen the memes, Zuck getting questioned by a bunch of old people who do not know how to change their lockscreen. Sure GDPR happened and we have regulations on data and companies promising that they would take consent out a checkbox before selling our souls to the overlords but we also know what we are commodity, and noone is gonna give us up.

We all love to say “I hate politics” and I mean I say it too, I don’t wanna get involved in it cause I know nothing about it. but I do know that there are somethings that are fundamentally wrong and how the whole system needs a factory reset for the modern age. Surely a 10 year old downloading Honey singh off is not an offense punishable by 3 years in prison

We had trusted our law to the lawmakers and the politicians and only care about it when the nigerian crown prince has the 3 digits behind your credit card.

We need to Care. I need to care. We need to change. I need to change.

Quotes from