Sunday, April 25, 2010

Three Standard Laws

I, Standards Body
from Scripting News

On my drive east earlier this month I read a bunch of audio books, including Isaac Asimov's I, Robot. It's basically a collection of short stories built around the assumption that we create robots that obey three laws at their core.
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It struck me, thinking about how the W3C and IETF are controlled by the big tech companies, and how they serve their interests, often in conflict with the interests of users, that perhaps a new kind of standards body is needed. One which never takes money from tech companies, and has its own version of the three laws.
The restated laws:
1. A standard may not injure users or, through inaction, allow users to come to harm.
2. Standard-compliant software must obey any orders given to it by users, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A standard must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Dave Winer's next line really struck a harmonic chord with me, "Users are supreme. Tech companies are not even part of the charter of a human-serving standards body. They may use the standards, but we don't care one way or the other if they continue to profit, or even exist."

Posted via email from Pa^2 Patois

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