Toby, I love your vision. I’ve supported Wikipedia for more than a decade, donating every time the box pops up on my browser. I believe it’s perhaps the single most positive thing we’ve gained from the Internet.

Alas, I can’t see any way in which any of your visions for the next decade can come remotely close to being realized. People simply don’t care about privacy, which is why they’re happy to spend their own money to put Orwell Boxes inside their homes. It’s like identity theft: no one thinks they’re at risk until it’s too late, and even then most just put it down to “the cost of being in the modern world.”

There is no viable economic model for Google et al to move to a more socially responsible posture. And as economics trumps everything else when it comes to corporate behavior, that shuts the door to this aspect of your vision.

As for bringing people together, the tsunami of mindless populism that’s sweeping the globe won’t be deterred by any practical constraints on Internet content. In fact the opposite will be true, as the Internet is increasingly Balkanized and subject to control by totalitarian regimes (of which the USA may well become one much faster than most people realize).

And as for things like the climate change protests being mobilized by the Internet, the reality is: such demonstrations achieve nothing whatsoever. They are simply feel-good virtue signaling and are totally ignored by those who have real power. That’s why all those 1960s and 1970s demonstrations didn’t bring the VietNam war to an end; it’s why the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations resulted merely in a different set of tyrants; it’s why the Occupy movement achieved precisely nothing whatsoever. No one in power cares about demonstrations and the Internet isn’t going to change that reality, though it will permit more feel-good selfies to be posted on InstaSnap.

The sad thing is, technology can amplify our follies but it can’t save us from ourselves. I’d love to believe there’s even a 0.00000001% chance of your vision coming true; unfortunately every single objective metric indicates otherwise.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.