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The Internet is full of potential. I've been using it for a few years, and it seems to me that its potential runs in two separate directions.

Some potential is put to use to make things BetterForPeople. It helps people communicate and do things more efficiently. These frequently center around creating OnlineCommunities - places where people can communicate with each other.

Others see the potential as a way to make things BetterForBusiness. A new way to advertise. A new way to automate. These look for ways to control what's going on.

These are not necessarily contradictory. http://www.cnn.com means I don't need a TV to get some news.

Sometimes something which was originally designed to be better for people ends up being "sabotaged" because it is used in ways that are better for business. Witness the way some companies exploit knowledge about how search engines work to get their pages listed first.

The problem is, how do you go about making a living doing things which are BetterForPeople? Is it enough to do things which DontHurt?? Do you need a framework, a theory of ethics to decide whether something is really going to be better for people?


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