There is a risk that we might be heading toward an online 1984, in which Orwell's "proles" are represented by the passive, telvision-fed masses that have no access to this new tool, and wouldn't know how to use it if they did. Above them, of course, there'll be a petite bourgeoisie of passive users - office workers, airline clerks. And finally we'll see the masters of the game, the nomenklatura - in the Soviet sense of the term. This had nothing to do with class in the traditional Marxist sense - the nomenklatura are just as likely to be inner-city hackers as rich executives. But they will have one thing in common: the knowledge that brings control. We have to create a nomenklatura of the masses. We know that state-of-the art modems, an ISDN connection, and up-to-date hardware are beyond the means of most potential users - especially when you need to upgrade every six months. So let's give people access free, or at least for the price of the necessary phone connection.
- Umberto Eco
Individual Final Projects