Daniel Kolitz of Gizmodo asks ‘What will the internet look like in 2030?’ Christian Fuchs, along with seven other experts gives his answer;
The internet and society interact. How the internet will look like in 2030 depends on how society will develop. History is the history of class and social struggles, which is why the future is not determined and relatively open. It all depends on human praxis. The future of society and the internet range on a continuum where dystopias form one end and concrete utopias another end. We are in a crisis that puts forward the alternatives of barbarism and socialism.
If the current tendencies of nationalism and authoritarianism continue and intensify, then the future will be war and fascism. On a fascist internet in a fascist society, there’ll be constant right-wing propaganda over corporate monopoly platforms and state-controlled platforms, entertainment will keep the masses apolitical and silent, there’ll be no democracy and no freedom of speech, any political opposition—including alternative and critical voices on the Internet—will be crushed with violence. On the fascist internet, there is a combination of corporate and state surveillance.
In order to prevent such a dystopian future, humans need to struggle for democratic socialism. Socialism is always democratic otherwise it is not socialist. On a socialist internet in socialist society, we find public service internet platforms that are independent from the state and corporations as well as platform co-operatives, self-managed internet organizations that are owned and controlled by workers and users. Under socialist conditions, there is egalitarian access to education and skills development and working time is radically reduced so that humans have the time, spaces and skills available that allow everyone to develop as a critical and creative individual. Such individuals will use the internet in critical and creative ways so that a dynamic plurality of new social initiatives and projects supported by face-to-face and internet-mediated communication will emerge.
The future of society and the internet could take on any form situated on the continuum between barbarism and socialism. In 1915, Rosa Luxemburg wrote that “[b]ourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism”. More than 100 years later, both society and the internet stand at a similar crossroads in a time of crisis and bifurcations.